Sunday, January 31, 2010

wrapped in a scarf

Sorting through my collections of sock yarn leftovers, I came across a few dozen yards of a pink/green/blue mix handpainted Merino yarn from Fleece Artist. The bulk of that skein was knit up into Monkey socks. Now the leftover has been knit up in a warm scarf for my little bear. I couldn't have planned a better combination of colours. And, wrapped in the scarf, the little bear really does look happier and more finished.

That's another project finished and off the needles. Now to turn my attention back to my Heartland Lace Shawl. Looks like today will be a quiet Sunday at home, with lots of time to knit!

Saturday, January 30, 2010

Lucky me!

Luck is definitely on my side. The yarn I bought from a fellow Raveler was not the same dyelot, but the colours are indistinguishable. How lucky is that? So my Komet socks are done and I love them. I've updated my Rav projects page, posted a final picture in the sockalong forum and added my positive review to the pattern details. And now they're on my feet, ready for a day of running errands and an evening celebrating a friend's 50th. At -16° outside, they'll be hidden behind jeans and inside shoes, but I'll enjoy them nonetheless. Lucky me!

Friday, January 29, 2010

things are getting done

Thanks to Chris who I contacted through Ravelry I've got a new supply of yarn to finish my Komet socks! And imagine, she lives just 5 minutes from my work so it was no trouble at all to hook up. Whatever did knitters do before Ravelry? Barring anything unforeseen, the second sock should be done tonight ... ready for wearing around town on the weekend.

My cat mat is almost done as well ... just a bit more grafting to do before quilting the layers together and the laundering test. Then back to my Heartland lace shawl. Let's see if I can finish that before Ravelympics!

Wednesday, January 27, 2010

sleeping on it

Monday night I tossed and turned, worrying over what to do with the chenille yarn in my stash. Truth be told, I was considering bundling it up to donate to a thrift store. But after sleeping on it, I had an idea. Maybe it will work for cat mats? A phone call to my local humane society confirmed that they would like handknit cat mats, at a size of 12" x 12" please, larger for dogs.

My plan is to cast on 98 stitches with a provisional crochet cast on, knit a 12" tube, insert some quilt batting, graft both ends shut, and then somehow quilt the layers together. VoilĂ , I should have a thick and soft mat. The ball band warns against machine washing and drying, but I'm going to test that. Cat mats must be sanitized regularly, so the plan hinges on how well it launders. We'll see in a few days!

Monday, January 25, 2010

cute, but ...

My little bear is done, and he's cute enough but I'm not entirely pleased with him. He's just too small. At just over 11" from the tip of his ear to the bottom of his foot, he's not really a huggable size. Consider as well that he's knit on large needles with bulky wool - each SSK and K2tog is clearly noticeable with this chenille yarn. He'd look better knit up in a fuzzier novelty yarn to obscure the stitches. And don't even get me started on how annoying it was to sew up the seams and weave in the ends using this novelty yarn. Mint green chenille fuzz everywhere!

Maybe later today I'll feel inspired to embroider a nose for him and knit him a little scarf. And I suppose the rest of the chenille is destined to become a blanket ... at least that way there'll be a lot less sewing involved. A felted mittens adventure next, I think ... I've never tried felting before.

Saturday, January 23, 2010


Progress on my second Komet sock has come to a screeching halt. Just before the toe decreases I've run out of yarn! Now what?

Plan A: buy more. I'll be yarn shopping this weekend, so I'll check to see if they have any on hand.

Plan B: search some out to buy or trade from other Ravelers.

Plan C: deep breath ... rip out both socks and reknit with a shorter leg. Fingers crossed that it doesn't come to this!

Meanwhile, I'm casting on this toy bear. There's lots of chenille novelty yarn in my stash to be used. Glancing through other Ravelers' projects, seems like the yarn is most suited to scarves, throws or toys. When I happened across this charity, well, serendipity. Time to make a bear or two, or maybe several if it really works out well.

Thursday, January 21, 2010

mine, all mine

Gavin agrees, I should keep this pair of socks for myself. Because the first sock fits perfectly and I absolutely love it. So much so, that I've been poring over all the rest of the sock patterns designed by Stephanie van der Linden to add more of her patterns to my queue. The pattern down the leg and across the foot is a nice combination of lace and cables - just enough to keep it interesting without being demanding. And the resulting fabric has a nice scrunchiness to it, so the fit is great. Can't wait to finish the second sock so that I can wear them next week!

Wednesday, January 20, 2010

such a heel

Phew! I've finally made it through the heel of my first Komet sock. In hindsight I can see that this heel construction is quite simple and easy, but it took me a few tries to finally get it right. Totally my fault, as usual - skimming instructions and not paying close enough attention. As frustrating as ripping back can be, the frustration was compounded by the bamboo yarn which became unbelievably splitty. Thank goodness that's done ... hopefully the rest of the foot will be smooth sailing.

Monday, January 18, 2010

learning a new heel

When I realized that the even rows were uncharted on the Komet sock pattern I was okay with that. I could decide to knit the round, or, knit the pattern stitches and purl the purls. After peering at the pattern photo, I went with the second option.

But when I came to the heel instructions I was perplexed. This is a heel that I've never encountered before - sometimes called a Jo-Jo heel, sometimes a Yo-Yo heel and here called a Double-Stitch short row heel. With the help of I'm learning a new technique. So far I like this heel method - it's simple once you get the hang of it and results in a nice tight heel. With luck, I'll be far enough along tomorrow to show a picture of the finished heel. Fun to try something different!

Sunday, January 17, 2010

January sockalong

When I joined Ravelry a year and a half ago, I joined a first time sock knitters group, and participated in several of the sockalongs since. Recently, in view of waning participation within the group, the moderator asked what socks we'd like to knit and how often we'd like to participate in sockalongs. Now that my pattern suggestion has been adopted for the January sockalong, I figured I'd better put excuses aside and cast on.

I'm glad I did. The pattern is Komet; a sock that's been in my queue for ages. And the yarn is SRK On Your Toes Bamboo; yarn that's leftover from the Express Lane socks I made last summer. Knitting through my queue, knitting the yarn in my stash - all in keeping with my New Year's resolutions. And what a pretty pattern!

Saturday, January 16, 2010

a pile of socks

For the last two weeks I've been knitting socks. But with the shipment date in Ottawa looming, it's time to wrap up this pile of socks and send it off. Averaging just less than a sock a day, I've managed 5 pairs. They're pretty cute and should be pretty warm. And talk about stash busting! That's seven of the twelve balls of Patons Kroy Stripes sock yarn knit. I'll put the rest aside and knit more socks in time for the fall shipment.

Now, what to knit next?

Thursday, January 14, 2010

wrestling wips

With less than a month until the opening ceremonies, the buzz about Ravelympics is starting to build. And with less than a month, I better get a move on with my projects on needles to clear the deck in time for the competition. I plan to compete in the Sweaters Slalom event not Work-In-Progress Wrestling! Can I start and finish a Cottage Garden sweater in 16 days? Not sure, but I'm going give it my best effort!

Between now and the weekend, I hope to finish three more socks and then bundle the lot of them off to the Warm Hands Network. And then that's done for now. Last night I took a break from socks and picked up my Heartland Lace Shawl again. The shawl had been put aside in frustration several days ago when, part way into the third lace repeat, I realized I was short a stitch on one side. Careful comparison of left and right sides revealed that the problem was simple to fix - a missed yarn over two rows before. Now that's back on track. Just 29 days to the opening ceremonies!

Monday, January 11, 2010

completely different

It strikes me as odd that the striping in the blue/green/yellow colourway is so dramatically different than the purple/blue/orange colourway. I hadn't expected that. It's not a concern - I like both effects - but it brings home the importance of seeing a swatch sample to predict how variegated yarn will knit up.

I will admit that I'm heartily sick of knitting socks now. I've knit nothing else for the last week. Just a few more days of sock knitting before I send off what I've finished. And then onto something new!

Saturday, January 9, 2010

my apologies

Yesterday a blogger named "WalkerBerk" posted a spam comment to my blog; a comment that was nothing more than links to an objectionable website. This morning when I discovered this, I took three steps:

i) I've deleted the comment from my blog. Sounds simple enough, but I felt sad as I did it. In almost a year and half of blogging I've never needed to moderate a comment before.

ii) I've reported the user to Blogger for spamming. I'm sure the user will be suspended, but I don't think that'll solve the problem. I imagine for every suspended account five new ones are opened the next day.

iii) I've enabled comment moderation on my blog. Going forward, if you are kind enough to comment, your comment will be published only after I review it. I'm sorry for this and wish it weren't necessary, but moderating comments is more palatable than allowing my blog to be used for distasteful and offensive spamming.

It's all very distressing, so instead, let's turn our attention to that lovely pile of Rowan Felted Tweed! It's destined to become a Cottage Garden sweater. Maybe as my Ravelympics project?

Thursday, January 7, 2010

more stripes

With the January 31st shipment deadline looming for the Warm Hands Network, all my knitting time for the next several days will involve striped socks. I'm almost finished a second pair - this time in a larger preteen size - and then plan to knit an intermediate size to fit a child of about 8 to 10 years. So the most exciting knitting news from me in the coming days will be when I finish the blue/purple/orange stripes and get started on the blue/green/yellow stripes. Things are off to a slow start this New Year at my work, which leaves me plenty of time to knit. As nice as that is for me, my boss will be a lot happier when things pick up.

Tuesday, January 5, 2010

WHN Child's Socks

With these small (age 5 to 7) socks done, I thought I'd work on a larger size (hopefully 8 to 10 years) as well. A few have asked for more information about the pattern, so I'll try to write something up in the next few days.

And if you look carefully, you'll see my new Stork scissors in the photo next to my little socks. These are a much appreciated birthday gift from Jane. There's a fascinating history behind the design of these scissors. In the 1800s midwives used them as umbilical clamps for newborns, and they gradually morphed into needlework scissors through the years. Neat, huh?

Monday, January 4, 2010

Warm Hands Network Socks

At the end of December, Anita of the Warm Hands Network was asked what items were needed most for the January 31st shipment to the Innu communities in Labrador. Her response? "The community is always in need of socks, any size. Makes sense, since every kid needs more than one pair. Thanks for asking!"

Now that's something I can help with. I've looked around for sock patterns in children's sizes but never liked what I've found. So for the last couple of days I've been improvising my own pattern. Here's the first sock in Patons Kroy Socks Stripes, sized to fit a child 5 to 7 years old. The leg of the sock is a K4P2 rib so that it will fit snugly, and I've carried the pattern across the top of the foot to help the fit there too. The first sock took just less than 25g of yarn - I should get a pair of socks from each 50gr ball. Last year at the Spinrite Factory outlet I bought 2 bags of this yarn; this seems like a good use for it. And what fun to knit a sock a day! Wonder how many pairs I can manage in time for the January 31st shipment?

Sunday, January 3, 2010

first FO of 2010

When I boarded the Queen streetcar to meet a friend downtown, I figured I could finish the last chart for the top of the foot and maybe some of the even rounds before starting the toe decreases. And when I returned home by subway and bus, I thought I could finish the even rounds and get started on the toe decreases. But when the bus broke down and stranded us for half an hour in -15° weather, I had time enough to finish the toe, leaving the grafting and weaving in of ends until I got home. As a result these Tart Lime socks have become my first finished object of 2010.

My review of the pattern? The generous ribbing at the top of the leg helps the socks stay up. The main pattern is stretchy and scrunchy which makes for a good fit. And I love the way the ribbing flows into the pattern on the leg, and then the pattern flows back into ribbing across the top of the foot. The resulting socks are handsome and very comfortable to wear. So I'd recommend the pattern with one reservation - almost every round involves cabling back and front. It's not the best knit for trains, buses or other distracted knitting.