Sunday, February 24, 2008

Little Socks Part 2

I can not make something for one small child around here without making something comparable for the other. Thus we have another pair of small socks:

Pattern: Knit to Fit Ankle or Calf Socks by Nancy Lindberg, Yarn: Socka by Stahl Wolle, Colorway 6358

I've already written plenty about this pattern. The yarn, on the other hand, I have never used and I do not plan to ever use again. It is a cotton/wool/polyamide combo that my skin did not like. It actually wore a sore on my tension finger - not sure if it was an allergic reaction or just super rough. It also is really thin, but on the plus side, it actually made really nice fabric.

Luckily I only had one small skein of it in my stash and do not plan to buy it again.

By the way, I am not such a fast knitter that I started and finished these after the other little socks. I knit them pretty much at the same time.

I have a bunch of other stuff I have to knit now, so I may not get to make any more socks for a bit. At Knitting Guild last week one of the members mentioned that she has about 24 pairs of hand knit socks. I think that sounds like a good goal...when I get a chance...of course, the kids want more too, having already asked what's going to happen when these have to be washed!

Friday, February 22, 2008

Little Socks

Finished: One adorable pair of striped socks fit for a 2 year old

Pattern: Knit to Fit Ankle or Calf Socks by Nancy Lindberg, Yarn: Regia Crazy Color, colorway 5260

This pattern is so flexible! You can make any size socks with any weight yarn. At this point, I don't need to consult it any longer, but I am using the basic construction for the socks I have been knitting. Yes, there are more in the works already!

Sorry, this picture is a little blurry - it is very hard to get a 2 year old to hold still for any picture, but especially one of their feet when they are wearing new socks.

The stripe repeats are very long on this yarn, with one sock taking slightly more than one repeat. I did not want to waste an entire sock worth of yarn just to get the socks to match exactly, so they are slightly different.

V. could not care less. She calls them her "Happy Socks" which, of course, makes me happy. When we took them off tonight for the bath she asked "Can I wear them again tomorrow, pleeeeease?" I guess she likes them!

Thursday, February 21, 2008

Spring is Coming!

The last couple of days the weather in Portland has been quiet nice. I know it's still terrible in much of the country and we could still be in for additional winter weather, but right now it is hard not to think about spring. I find this especially true when I see things like these beautiful little Snowdrops and Crocus!

Hope your day is filled with thoughts of spring!

Monday, February 18, 2008

The House of Sick

Ever have one of those weeks that just disappears and when you look back on it, you can't remember much positive about it? This past week was sort of like that. Well, the title says it all. Our house has been afflicted with a nasty stomach virus, first one person, then the next, all in a nice, tidy order. Unfortunately the hubby and I overlapped a day - which was not a good day. Today was the first day we are all completely better. It was glorious in Portland today, with temps near 60, which was a nice bonus.

In the middle of all of the sick was Valentine's day. I had a nice little V-day post planned, but it will have to wait for next year because this year that was my sickest day. At one point, I stumbled down to the office and found these beauties on my desk. So sweet!

Then, later in the day the hubby brought me a present I had completely missed. You know I am sick if I miss a present wrapped in bright red paper with my name on it! In it, I found this big ole box of tea.
This is a particularly fragrant Jasmine tea I have been enjoying lately. I was almost out and my hubby noticed and thought to go to the huge Asian grocery store to pick some up for me. He says they only had these 100 packs, but I was very pleased. This is a much better gift for me than diamonds and he knows it. Love him!

Knitting has been a little slow. I knit a couple more blocks for the Great American Afghan for the shop, but as with all of them, the pictures don't look like anything - so no pictures. I did get to knit one of them several times because I could not seem to follow the most basic instructions. It's times like those that it's best just to put the needles down and walk away. Amazingly, after I had recovered from my illness, I was able to whip that particular block out in one evening. Sigh. Hopefully I'll have something more interesting to post about some time this week...perhaps more socks?

Sunday, February 10, 2008

First Socks

As I had hoped, I finished my first pair of socks on Friday evening. It has taken until this afternoon to get a decent picture.

Pattern: Knit to Fit Ankle or Calf Socks by Nancy Lindberg, Yarn: Ashabee's Fiber Oasis 100% Superwash Merino, Colorway: Koi Pond

This was, as I have alluded to, a very pleasant knitting experience. The pattern is super basic and good for a first pair of socks. It's one that allows you to plug the info gathered in a gauge swatch, along with foot measurements, into a formula and come up with a custom sock plan. Worked like a charm. I do have to say I am not too excited about the toe. The pattern calls it a square toe and it's not particularly attractive. It is functional though, so I'm not going to complain too much.

The yarn was purchased on a recent trip to Twisted. I love their "Wall of Sock Yarn" and if anything was going to get me to knit socks, I suppose that was it. I feel obliged to tell any of you non-Portlanders reading this that Twisted always has a fantastic selection of sock yarn from Indie dyers and they ship, just in case you need some.

The yarn, by the way, is gorgeous and soft. It did not split, even though I used an Addi Lace Needle. I love the colorway, but want to clarify that I am not a Miami Dolphins fan, which is what I thought of as I worked my way through the first sock. Funny how yarn looks different when knit up, isn't it? I never made that association when I saw it on the skein. I do like the way it never pooled though. Really cool stuff.

Friday, February 8, 2008

I have been converted!

How's that for a title? Amanda was correct in her comment on my last post, the long awaited and much anticipated new knitting project is ... my first socks. I started them on the 4th and have not put them down, unless it's been to sleep, eat, work at the "real" job, etc. So far, I have finished 1 sock...

...and have another well under way.

Yes, they are sort of short, but I have big feet and the skein of yarn I'm using only had something like 330 yards. I actually made them the same height as a pair of commercially made socks I like, so the height is good. More details to follow when they are done, which should be soon.

Actually, I'm hoping to finish these tonight - yes that would be 4 days for my first pair of socks! I hate to say it because I know Katrina is going to say "I told you so", but I think I may be truly hooked! It's a good thing I've been working on building the sock yarn stash for awhile since it looks like it might get used after all.

Oh, and yes, I am using "Magic Loop". Love that did I knit anything round before it?

OK, need to get back to that sock....must knit more sock...yeah!

Monday, February 4, 2008

Hand and Neck Warmers

As is often the case for me, these little projects started with a trip to a cute little yarn store in Sister's Oregon called "The Stitchin' Post" a few weeks ago. If you've ever been to Sisters, you know that nearly everything you describe there starts with "cute little" and ends with "expensive". I was pleasantly surprised to find this shop was not too bad. Although they do specialize is some higher end stuff, I found some great standard yarns and a couple of deals too.

The yarn I was most excited about though was a new one to me called Sulka by Mirasol. It is 60% Merino, 20% Alpaca and 20% Silk. As you can imagine it is sooooo soft! Unfortunately, it looks like it only comes in a bulky weight (55 yards per 50 grams), but it was surprisingly affordable. I bought 2 skeins in a soft cocoa color (colorway 206)

I knew I wanted to wear it next to my skin. I also knew I am unlikely to wear a hat and 2 skeins would not be enough for much of a scarf. I finally settled on some fingerless gloves.

Pattern: Fingerless Mitts from Weekend Knitting, Yarn: Sulka by Mirasol, Needles: size 8 straights

This was my first time using this pattern and boy was it quick and easy! I knit these with smaller needles to make the gauge nice and tight. I also made a size smaller than my hand measured because I wanted them to fit snuggly.

Mission accomplished on both. I have been wanting some fingerless gloves to wear during work and these are fitting the bill just fine.

Unfortunately, this pattern ended up taking just slightly more than 1 skein. I had slightly less than 1 skein left and I wanted to use every last bit of it. Ideally I wanted another something to wear next to my skin. A little neck warmer seemed like just the right thing.

I just made up the pattern:

  1. Cast on 12 stitches, size 10 1/2 needles
  2. Knit until I nearly ran out of yarn
  3. Added a button hole near the end
  4. Sewed on a button

This picture shows the color the best.

I love this little thing and have rarely had it off since finishing it. Obviously, I had to give it up for the photo shoot, but put it right back on as soon as I snapped those pictures.

I have started another new project. I'll post some progress photos soon. All I'm going to say about it today is that it is a new direction for me and a long time coming...

Swap Topic of the Week

I have a lot to say today, but decided to narrow it down to this week's "Defeat the Winter Doldrums Swap" topic.

This week the topic was actually a request to see a picture of our dishcloth cotton stash and notions used to make dishcloths. I occasionally post pictures of yarn I acquire here on the blog, but can assure you that I would never "flash my entire stash". It's not that I am in denial about it because I actually keep a detailed excel spreadsheet listing everything I own. It's more that the effort it would take to show it all is more than I am interested in expending.

However, my dishcloth cotton stash is relatively small. I actually like keeping it this way - all on a little shelf in my office so I can just grab a ball and go whenever the mood for a little dishcloth knitting hits.

Lissa- you'll note that the yarn you gave me in the last swap is gone already. I think I mentioned before that my little girl loved it and asked me to use it for dishcloths for one of her teachers for Christmas. I was happy to oblige. It was nice to let her just "shop" the stash!

As for notions, the only thing I usually use for dishcloths are straight knitting needles, specifically these. I do love stitch markers and other notions in general, but dishcloths are so small I can usually remember what I'm doing without markers, although not always...

I have mentioned a time or two that I received them in the Fall swap and have pretty much had them in rotation since then. It is rare to see them all in the packet like this. I actually just finished something last night that was using the size 8's.

Yes, that is a mention of another finished object. Actually, I have a couple that I will plan to talk about tomorrow. I am the master of small, quick projects! Meanwhile, the vest and Kiri shawl languish...

Friday, February 1, 2008

Diamonds and Pearls Shawl

Well, after some late night swearing and after having to call in the cavalry, the Diamonds and Pearls Shawl is finished.

Pattern: Diamond and Pearls Shawl from The Knitter's Book of Yarn, Yarn: Art Yarns, Silk Rhapsody, color 129

It definitely looks a little funny in that blocking shot. Oh well, I took this after it was dry. I need to remember to climb up on something and look at my lace from above when it is blocking. You get a much better view of any spots that need fiddling. Overall though, the little spots where it is off don't really show when it's in use.

So what happened, you ask? Well, the knitting went super fast for the main body of the shawl and was absolutely delightful. I had it all finished Wednesday, pretty early in the day and was ready to tackle the edging after the kids went to bed. One note of caution, there are errors in the pattern which I found and then confirmed on the errata page.

The edging/border though, as written in the pattern, was not so delightful. I loved the way it looked in the pictures and found it easy enough to do, if a bit fiddly. The problem was that it was completely in-elastic and had no give at all. Since the yarn is silk and the end product is relatively small, I was counting on the wonderful tendency silk has of growing when wet to make the shawl a bit bigger when blocked. The edging, as written in the pattern, would not have allowed my shawl to grow at all. I may have done it incorrectly, but I don't think so.

Of course, in one of my more brilliant moments, I decided to finish the edging on the entire shawl before deciding it wasn't going to work for me. Thus entered the late night swearing. Ever tried to rip out yarn that contains any mohair content? Let's just say it is NOT FUN. I insisted on ripping the entire border before going to bed. I'm like that - I do not like to put something down that is at an ugly place. Better to work through it and start with a fresh, clean slate the next time. Of course, this has caused me a lot of stress in my life, but that's a topic for another day.

Thursday I decide to dig out all of my stitch books and look for a new border. Unfortunately, I didn't have a lot of yarn left, so I knew I was going to have to go for something simple. Eventually I found the easy crochet alternative you see on the shawl, which looks very similar to the original knitted version. The one issue with this is that I am a horrible crocheter. I know, I could get better with practice, but I did not want my practice to be on my nice silk shawl. So, I called my mom.

Don't you just love my model, with his hairy face and neck? Have I mentioned that I have the best husband ever?

As I may have mentioned a time or two, my mom is pretty much good at everything domestic in nature. She is a fantastic crocheter so I called her up and asked if she would help. In the end, I made dinner for her and she whipped out the edge on the shawl in about an hour. It only took that long because she brought her bamboo hook at my suggestion and found it really slowed her down.

I had her make the loops on the edge a little bigger than the pattern called for because I wanted to get more mileage out of the yarn I had left, and I thought it would add just a touch more to the size. I am very happy with how it turned out and mom is too. When I started this project, I had no idea it was going to end up being a collaborative effort for mom and me, but because it was I will treasure the shawl even more!