Sunday, May 24, 2015

Year of Projects 4: Rhombus 02

KNIT. SOCK. LOVE. : BFF • Clandestine • Cusp • German Stockings • Gothic Spire • Hedera • In and Out • Lissajous • Marilinda • Mona • Monkey • Pointelle • Rhombus • Sake • Stalagmite • Stricken • Thelonious • Twisted Flower • Wedge

Last time I posted I was whining about M1s .... M1L, M1R, M1L-purl, M1R-purl. But now that I've typed up a little cheat sheet for myself, the knitting is much faster. Check the chart, confirm the mechanics of the stitch on the cheat sheet, and carry on. It's definitely getting much easier as I go along. Only twenty-some odd rows before I start the heel. Sadly those crazy cables aren't getting any less fiddly, but there aren't a lot of them, so it is what it is.

The jury is still out with me with this yarn. It's Red Sock Blue Sock sock yarn that I picked up at the Knitter's Frolic in April. It's indy-dyed in Ontario so I wanted to give it a try. The base is soft and not splitty but it's not very smooth or springy. I feel like the lumpiness is distorting some of the stitches in the pattern. I'm also not terribly excited about the dye job - it's a gorgeous rich purple colour overall but there's not much interesting texture to the dyeing. Good grief, I'm the Goldilocks of yarn, aren't I?! Mostly I'm hoping that the yarn fulls up and evens out a bit after a wash or two.

Now that I'm feeling more confident with Rhombus, I'm hoping to get the pair done in the next week to ten days. I'm already eyeing In and Out in some Socky-Talky yarn by The Dye Guy that I picked up in Jordan Station a few weeks ago. But no starting anything new until I finish what's on the needles now!

Sunday, May 10, 2015

Year of Project 4: Rhombus 01

KNIT. SOCK. LOVE. : BFF • Clandestine • Cusp • German Stockings • Gothic Spire • Hedera • In and Out • Lissajous • Marilinda • Mona • Monkey • Pointelle • Rhombus • Sake • Stalagmite • Stricken • Thelonious • Twisted Flower • Wedge

Not much to show on Rhombus yet, but jeez is this pattern something else!!

M1L, M1R, M1L-purl, M1R-purl ... did you know there were so many ways to make one? I didn't, but I guess I'm gonna be an old hand at all the variations by the end of this sock! Hopefully by the end of the next repeat I won't have to google to remember exactly how to do each. And maybe, just maybe, I'll find a trick to make M1R-purl less fiddly and time-consuming.

Let's not focus on that though - there's that slip 2 to a cable needle and leave at the front, slip 2 to another cable needle and leave at the back, knit two through the back loop craziness that pops up six times on every 14th round. Now that is fiddly! And I'm not holding out a lot of hope that I'll get any quicker or more efficient with it!! The upside is that I'm knitting the sock on size 0 (2mm) needles and I have lots of them, because after all 3 needles holding stitches + 1 working needle + 2 cable needles =  SIX NEEDLES. Seriously!?!?

I like to think that I do my homework by reading through the project notes of other Ravelers before I cast on ... looking for hints about whether they knit up small or large, checking for errata and watching out for any other helpful tips ... but in this case maybe I should have looked at how many of these projects were frogged. Because there's a lot in that category!

Never mind, I'm gonna keep a good thought and count on those Ravelers who remarked that it got easier as they went along. It's got to, right?

Friday, May 8, 2015

FO: Arkin Socks and Willow Socklets

As well as being terribly behind on knitting goals, I'm also woefully behind on blogging. And starting today I hope to catch up. Since it's Friday - or Finished Object Friday as it's known in some circles - I'll start with these two FOs.

Pattern: Arkin Socks by Rachel Coopey

Yarn: Sock Luck by Studio June Yarn in turquoise

Needles: 2.25mm on legs, 2.0 mm on heels and feet

Modifications: none

Comments: My friend asked me to knit some socks for her Mom so these are them. The cables are slightly asymmetrical - which I kinda like - and the lengths go from short to long around the leg - which I also like. Other than the cable details on the leg the pattern is a pretty basic ribbed sock, so the fit is great.

The way the pattern was written, though, I did not like. It was mostly written with one tiny chart for the cables. It would have been so easy to write it all and/or chart it all, but why do half of one and half of the other?

Pattern: Willow Socklets by Tyrneathem

Needles: 1.75 mm

Modifications: knit on 66 sts omitting one pattern repeat

Comments: The finished pair of Arkin socks took just 60 grams of yarn leaving me with enough for some ankle socks! After skimming through the project notes of other Ravelers I determined that the socks would likely be too large as written (both Nancy and her Mom have tiny feet) so I reduced the number of stitches by omitting one pattern repeat and switched down to tiny needles. The finished size looks about perfect.

It's a very simple pattern for a very pretty little pair of summery ankle socks. Once again it's mostly rib with some eyelet lace columns so the fit should be great. I did manage to squeak these out of the leftover 40 grams, but it was close!

Have a great weekend! Nancy and I are headed to the Spring Handmade Market this weekend, so that'll be fun!

Sunday, May 3, 2015

Year of Projects 4: Hedera 02

KNIT. SOCK. LOVE. : BFF • Clandestine • Cusp • German Stockings • Gothic Spire • Hedera • In and Out • Lissajous • Marilinda • Mona • Monkey • Pointelle • Rhombus • Sake • Stalagmite • Stricken • Thelonious • Twisted Flower • Wedge

Of course I was so close to finishing my Hederas a couple of weeks ago when I last posted, that you probably guessed that they were done shortly after. And so they were.

As I mentioned I worked the YOs through the back loop to close up the holes and I like the pattern a lot better this way! Without the holes the pattern is less lacy and would work for a guy or a girl. The stretchiness of the knitted fabric was a pleasant surprise - these fit really well!

The yarn is from a local dyer - The Black Lamb - and is 80/20 merino nylon. It's lovely stuff, soft and squishy, but it feels just slightly too thick for socks. Well, unless it's thick socks you're after, then it's perfect. The colour way is labelled as "clay", although in my head I've renamed it "pressure-treated lumber" and it's a slightly mossy green neutral.

With Hedera done my plan is to cast on Rhombus next. At the Toronto Knitter's Guild Frolic I scouted out this Red Sock Blue Sock Yarn in a "grape jelly" colourway expressly for Rhombus. They're gonna be glorious!

Seems like I fall further behind on my knitting commitments every time I finish another pair. I can't knit any faster so it's time to pare down my commitments, particularly as I seem to be finding myself not knitting the things I want to knit. Time to make a new plan.

• I'll sit out on some of the sock knitting KALs on Ravelry ... unless they overlap with other knitting goals, I just don't have the time right now.
• I'm committed to the Cookie A. sock club for 2015 so I will complete those patterns.
• I'm committed to my Year of Projects so although I will complete those patterns, but I'll relax the schedule and let them carry over into the next year of projects
• I want to knit socks for the Warm Hands Network, so I'll alternate those socks with Cookie A. socks

So that's the plan for now: two pairs on the needles - one Cookie A for YoP or Sock Club + one for the Warm Hands Network. Now let's just see if that's a plan I can stick to!

Sunday, April 19, 2015

Year of Projects 4: Hedera 01

KNIT. SOCK. LOVE. : BFF • Clandestine • Cusp • German Stockings • Gothic Spire • Hedera • In and Out • Lissajous • Marilinda • Mona • Monkey • Pointelle • Rhombus • Sake • Stalagmite • Stricken • Thelonious • Twisted Flower • Wedge

As I told you last week, this is not first go around with the Hedera pattern. I cast on a pair a couple of years ago from the pattern on Knitty, but I didn't like how lacy they were knitting up and ripped them out.

Fast forward a couple of years ... just as I'm considering casting on Hedera again I stumble across a forum post on Ravelry where a knitter asks for advice about closing up the YO holes on either side of the spine on a triangular shawl. And when another knitter suggested working the YOs through the back loop on the next row I knew I had my answer. I just can't believe how well this little trick has worked! I love these Hederas now!!

It's a very easy and easily memorized four row pattern, but very effective! I worked the leg up to the heel flap on 2.25 mm needles and then switched down to smaller needles for the rest of the heel and the foot.

My socks are posed in my front garden where you can see the first new growth of my daylilies. If the weather continues warm and sunny things will green up in the garden pretty quickly. Can't wait for t-shirt weather and leaves on the trees!

Sunday, April 12, 2015

Year of Projects 4: Wedge 04

KNIT. SOCK. LOVE. : BFF • Clandestine • Cusp • German Stockings • Gothic Spire Hedera • In and Out • Lissajous • Marilinda • Mona • Monkey • Pointelle • Rhombus • Sake • Stalagmite • Stricken • Thelonious • Twisted Flower • Wedge

It's crazy how much I love my Wedge socks! Admittedly it was the pattern I first favourited out of the entire book, but really it's nothing more than a pair of vanilla socks with a bunch of garter stitch short rows wedges. And I'm not normally that keen on the homespun simplicity of garter stitch. Can't explain it!

I suppose how perfectly the variegated print of the yarn plays with the pattern might have a lot to do with it.  I've had my troubles with variegated yarn, and mostly avoid it as being more trouble than it's worth, but this pattern really comes to life with the variegation. Besides, they are lime green, kelly green, forest green and a lot of other fabulous greens. Did I mention that green is my favourite colour?

Caffeine Girl Creates mentioned that she struggled to translate the appearance of the yarn in the skein or ball to how it knits up in her post here and I can totally relate. That's where I find Ravelry such a help. Before casting on Wedge, I skimmed through the project photos to determine what yarn choice might work best. And I scanned the project photos for this yarn to get a sense of what I might expect. The homework paid off huge in this instance. The main pattern photo is a solid coloured yarn - and I probably would have played it safe with something similar before seeing all the glorious pairs of variegated Wedge socks!

Back to the pattern: it's super simple. Knit these and you'll be able to W&T in your sleep. And thanks to the short rows there's very little purling. No need to pick up those wraps either as the garter stitch and the busy yarn fill in any little holes. I knit the medium size throughout, although I snuck down a needle size after completing the heels to snug up the foot. They fit perfectly!

I've already cast on Hedera Socks and will have something to show you on that next week. Truth be told I started a pair of Hedera socks a few years ago but ripped them out because I didn't like how holey/lacy they were knitting up. Once again, Ravelry to the rescue! Just the other day I was breezing through the forums when I saw an idea that might just do the trick for me. But more on that next week.

It's finally FINALLY spring! I rolled down the car windows. I turned off the furnace and opened the doors to let in some fresh air. And now I'm headed outside to tidy the garden. Have a great day!

Sunday, April 5, 2015

Year of Projects 4: Wedge 03

KNIT. SOCK. LOVE. : BFF • Clandestine • Cusp • German Stockings • Gothic Spire • Hedera • In and Out • Lissajous • Marilinda • Mona • Monkey • Pointelle • Rhombus • Sake • Stalagmite • Stricken • Thelonious • Twisted Flower • Wedge

The first of my Wedge socks is finished and the second is well on its way but not quite done. I seemed to have lost a few weekdays into a black hole after three hours in the dentist's office on Tuesday. About a week and a half to go of munching on not-sticky, not-crunchy, not-chewy, not-hot, not cold food before I get my permanent crown. Can't wait!! But never mind that, why don't we agree that I show you my finished Wedge socks next week?

The entire week wasn't a write-off though. I did finish the No-Purl Ribbed scarf and my Chalcot socks. The last half of the scarf was extremely tedious - perhaps that's true of all scarves? - so it was a relief to get it off the needles. I hunkered down and knit the full 72 inches before casting off.

Chalcot Socks on the other hand, were a very engrossing knit. Lots going on, lots of charts, lots of counting and lots of twisted stitches. And yes, some very bent metal needles after all those K3togs! I love the finished socks though! After weighing the first sock I realized I was going to be short on yarn for the second, so I shortened the leg by four rounds and shortened the heel flap by 4 rows. That did the trick; I finished sock two with a couple of yards of yarn to spare. And you'd have to really look to see the difference!

Once I finish my Wedge Socks, I'm planning to cast on Hedera. The decision came down to the fact that I just can't face another pattern with tons of cables, charts or twisted stitches right now. Hedera looks like a quick mindless knit, and that's just what I'm in the mood for at the moment. Besides, I'm so far behind on my Year of Projects that knocking a few quickies off the list would go along way to boosting morale. I'd really like to knit Rhombus too, but I'm picturing them in a royal purple or navy blue so they might wait until after the Knitter's Frolic and a bit of yarn shopping.