Sunday, January 31, 2016

Year of Projects 5: Week 31

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

COOKIE A SOCK CLUB: June #1 • June #2 • August #1 • August #2 • October #1 • October #2 • December #1 • December #2 

VANILLA SOCKS FOR CHARITY: July • August • September • October • November • December • January • February • March • April • May • June

FINALLY! Finally, I got back to working on my Clandestine socks! I put these aside at the beginning of November with sock one done and sock two halfway down the leg.

And then never got back to them...

... until now. Fortunately I had the good sense to mark my last round worked on the charts with highlight tape, so finding my place wasn't too difficult. And now that I'm back working on them, I'm kicking myself for putting them aside. This pattern knits up really quickly!! Just two and half more repeats plus the toe to go. They'll be off the needles tomorrow, I'd think.

My first Thelonius sock got no love last week. Once I finish the aforementioned Clandestine socks I plan to knit monogamously on these, if only to get them off the needles and move on. The yarn base has disappointed (it's very scratchy), the gradient has disappointed (it's very subtle and about to become very abrupt) and the pattern isn't doing much for me either. But I'd like to finish them so I can move on to other things.

Early last week  I received an email notification from the public library indicating that my hold on the eBook Op-Art Socks by Stephanie van der Linden had become available. My thought was to be thrifty and borrow the book from the library for the 2 or 3 patterns I wanted to knit. But no sooner did I start flipping pages on my iPad when I realized that the eBook format wasn't ideal in this instance. I found it annoying to flip back and forth between written instructions and charts in an eBook and it was a challenge to get the pages sized on the iPad to get the charts and legends all on one page. So, armed with the Chapters Gift Card I got for Christmas from my brother Mark, I went out and bought the book (or should I say, the "book-book"?). Much better! Now I can hardly wait to cast on Ludwig just as soon as I get those other socks off the needles.

Also, thanks for all the sweet comments about the peppermint twist stitch markers. They're awesome aren't they? Those fabulous stitch markers were a gift from Frieda at RestlessNeedles and I've been the envy of everyone in my knitting group every since.

Sunday, January 24, 2016

Year of Projects 5: Week 30

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

COOKIE A SOCK CLUB: June #1 • June #2 • August #1 • August #2 • October #1 • October #2 • December #1 • December #2

VANILLA SOCKS FOR CHARITY: July • August • September • October • November • December • January • February • March • April • May • June

By mid-week my second Dither sock was done. They're in the laundry hamper now; maybe a soak will help smooth out the scar on the leg of the first sock from my snipping and grafting? And with any luck that soak will also help even out the tension in my colourwork as well :) Not that it matters really; these will just be headed to my sock drawer.

Even though they're not 100% perfect, I'm still very pleased with them. My modifications to condense the chart worked out perfectly. I ended up with 2 grams of the light blue leftover, plus 5 grams of the medium blue and 7 grams of the grey. That's close enough for me. Almost immediately after posting the FO photo to the finished thread in the Cookie A group I started getting all kinds of nice comments and messages. Seems I wasn't the only one who didn't care for the December patterns and who was looking for a pattern that might work with the three mini-skeins of yarn!

The base is from Lorna's Laces - it's their Shepherd Sock base - and it's just too lovely to sit unknit. And I like the colours too, although I'd have rather had a full skein of any of them rather than a third skein of each. But no matter, the socks knit up beautifully and I'll enjoy them for many years to come. So that's the last word on the sock club.

I had fully intended to return to my second Clandestine sock immediately after finishing Dither, but although I brought the WIP along to work, I forgot the pattern. Doh. So instead I started Thelonius with the gradient yarn I bought over the holidays in Savannah. Silly me - I thought it'd be a nice, simple and mindless knit, but that's certainly not the case. Honestly if it were properly charted I think it would be a lot simpler, but instead it's a mishmash of written directions and bits and pieces of charts. Gah. I'm too lazy to chart it for my own use though, so I'll just soldier on.

In lieu of the expected mindlessness of that pattern, I decided to knit up yarn leftover from the Preemie Cardis I made in November into hats for 25 000 Tuques Toronto. And what could be more mindless than a garter stitch tuque like Rikke? It really was super simple and knit up from start to finish in a day and a half. I like it though, and I think I may have enough yarn for one more.

I thought I might be too late for this charity drive, but the organizers are carrying on (and so is the war, and so is the stream of refugees fleeing the war) so I'll knit another hat or two instead of Vanilla Charity Socks for January. Besides how can you resist this?

Sunday, January 17, 2016

Year of Projects 5: Week 29

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

COOKIE A SOCK CLUB: June #1 • June #2 • August #1 • August #2 • October #1 • October #2 • December #1 • December #2

VANILLA SOCKS FOR CHARITY: July • August • September • October • November • December • January • February • March • April • May • June

As I mentioned previously I was not at all interested in knitting either of the Cookie A Sock Club December 2015 patterns - Horatio Herbert or Wavy Entrelac. I don't find either pattern attractive, nor can I see any way to make either one fit in a way that I'd be happy with. So what to do with the club yarn which is supplied as three mini skeins of 37 grams each? I considered striping the three colours as I'm inclined to do with sock yarn scraps, but then I did a search in the Ravelry database for 3 colour sock patterns in fingering weight yarn, et voilĂ , Dither.

As written Dither requires substantially more yardage of colour B than I had available, so I condensed the colourwork chart by cutting out nearly half the rows to see if I couldn't squeak out a matching pair of socks with my three 1/3rd skeins.

Sock one was a bit of an experiment. After knitting to the end of the colourwork chart on the leg, I realized I had more than half of colour A left. But I still wasn't sure I had enough colour B. Rather than ripping back to add more rounds of A above the chart I decided to carry on and see where I landed at the end of the sock. Woohoo! I did compress the chart just enough to complete the colour B section from 18 grams of yarn! But now I had excess of colour A and I really wanted a longer leg.

Out came the scissors! I cut the cuff off the leg as if I was doing an afterthought heel except that I carried on to separate all the way around the leg. Then I used a Russian join to rejoin A to the bottom of the cuff and added another 16 or so rounds before grafting the lengthened cuff/upper leg section to the lower leg/foot section with kitchener stitching. The graft line is visible in the final sock but I'm hoping that after a few washes and wears the "scar" will fade and the surgery will be less noticeable. At any rate I'm much happier with the longer sock!

And now it's on to sock two! Should be smooth sailing from here!

It'll be a relief to have this pair of socks and the sock club membership behind me. It's been a very disappointing experience for me. When you think of it, sock club membership is about the same as giving someone else your spending money and asking them to pick your patterns and yarn for you. That's certainly a risk. And I can't help but feel that the designer was uninspired and disinterested in the club and simply did the minimum to fulfill her obligations.

I had hoped to like at least a handful of the patterns. Of the twelve patterns offered I would have only voluntarily purchased one (Agave). Six of the patterns were super simple - easily reverse-engineered and not worth spending time or money on in my opinion. At least one of the patterns seemed a dead-ringer for a previously published pattern (Gable > Shur'Tugal). And with three of the patterns (Darjeeling, Horatio Herbert and Wavy Entrelac) I couldn't see any way to make a properly fitting sock from them.

I had also hoped that the yarn bases might be new to me and I hoped to like at least a few of the colours. I was disappointed again. Of the six club yarns, I would not have voluntarily purchased any of them. Three had no nylon content and one wasn't even suitable for socks. Four out of six are available at local yarn shops so there wasn't much exotic about the bases, and most I had already tried. Two of the colours were so appalling that I overdyed them because I just couldn't stand them otherwise. All of the socks knit from club yarns, with the exception of the Dither socks currently on the needles, were given away to anyone who had a nice thing to say about them.

Well enough about that - lesson learned! One more sock to finish up to put the club behind me and tomorrow's another day.

Sunday, January 10, 2016

Year of Projects 5: Week 28

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

COOKIE A SOCK CLUB: June #1 • June #2 • August #1 • August #2 • October #1 • October #2 • December #1 • December #2

VANILLA SOCKS FOR CHARITY: July • August • September • October • November • December • January • February • March • April • May • June

Not surprisingly, Monkey Socks are done. The pattern is easily memorized and it's easy to read your knitting to see where you left off, so it's a nice mindless knit. As mentioned I worked the YOs through the back loop to close up the holes, and I like the result. This Sprout sock yarn from The Fiber Seed comes in a 480 yard skein so there was tons of yardage to make a longer cuff and leg without worrying about running short at the foot. And look how beautifully the "short-striping" colourway knits up without any pooling. Lovely, lovely yarn!

But I forgot to mention another FO from the last several weeks. I finished Gavin's socks - knit from FameTrend yarn that he picked out at Knit N Stitch in Cocoa Village  FL. He asked after them every single day until I finished them, so I felt some pressure to knit them monogamously until they were done. What's really surprising is that he wears them! He's not the sock-wearing type ... but he does like these ones.  I didn't really enjoy knitting with this yarn - it's splitty, fuzzy, pill-y and unevenly textured - but the resulting socks are super soft and comfortable. And Gavin really likes them which is entirely the point.

Gavin and I snuck away on a road trip to Savannah GA over Christmas and New Years. We were very fortunate with the weather, which was perfect for driving and perfect for sight-seeing. Historic downtown Savannah was really lovely. I picked up a skein of souvenir yarn at Unwind Yarn and Gifts in midtown Savannah - a lovely green gradient sock yarn in quite a rustic-feeling wool which is sold under the store's private label. I'll have to really give some thought to what pattern will work with this. Might have to be something quite simple.

At New Years I arrived home to find a gorgeous skein of ArtFil Belle sock yarn from my birthday twin Frieda of Restless Needles. It's a really fabulous blend of deep sea blues and greens so now I'm on the hunt for an equally fabulous pattern worthy of this yarn. Right now I'm looking at Sake but I'm certainly open to suggestions! In the meantime I'm just going to gaze at it adoringly :)

In the meantime I have made a start on Dither socks using the December Yarn from the Cookie A sock club... but let's save that for next week's post! Have a great week!

Sunday, January 3, 2016

Year of Projects 5: Week 27

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

COOKIE A SOCK CLUB: June #1 • June #2 • August #1 • August #2 • October #1 • October #2 • December #1 • December #2

VANILLA SOCKS FOR CHARITY: July • August • September • October • November • December • January • February • March • April • May • June

Somehow weeks 22-26 got lost in the shuffle. You know, pre-holiday rush, then holiday craziness, then a vacation and so on. Knitting happened. Blogging didn't. So let's get caught up!

I worked a bit more on Clandestine sock two, but that got put aside for a more pattern suitable for a driving vacation. Just before Christmas I cast on for Monkey socks using The Fiber Seed Sprout yarn that I bought in Cocoa in November. It's a short striping yarn that I thought would work nicely with the Monkey pattern and I couldn't be more pleased with how it has knit up. It's put up in 480 yards skeins - so much yardage that I was able to lengthen the cuff and the leg without any concerns about running short of yarn!

I'm knitting the large size, but narrowing at the beginning of the heel flap and again at the gussets to narrow the foot. Sock one seems to fit pretty well! As well, I'm working the YOs through the back loops to close up the holes. I really like how that's working out too.

In mid-December I received the final shipment of the 2015 Cookie A Sock Club  - another disappointment as far as I'm concerned. I can't even convince myself to cast on either of the December Club patterns - Horatio Herbert and Wavy Entrelac -  as I can't see any way to make either of those patterns fit in a way I'd be happy with, nor do I think either is attractive enough to make them worth the effort. As for the yarn, the base is nice and the colours are nice but ....

Lorna’s Laces Shepherd Sock (80% superwash merino, 20% nylon; 430 yards; 100g; shown in Winter Waves) Note this yarn is a special set created especially for the sock club. It is split into thirds, with each partial skein dyed a different colour.

Yeah, the skein has been split into three mini skeins which were dyed totally different colours. It's not easy to find a pattern that actually calls for 35 grams of each of three colours. And, perhaps not surprisingly, there's not even a whiff of interest in the destash thread. In the end I've decided to try knitting the partial skeins up as Dither socks. I'm hoping that if I compress the colour work chart I can manage them without running short of colour B. Fingers crossed.

As for the Vanilla Socks for Charity section of my list, for November I knit preemie sweaters instead of socks, but as far as the list goes I think that counts. In December I knit a pair of socks for this challenge from the Canadian War Museum. I used a vintage pattern for the American Red Cross for Men's Socks for Servicemen, although I had to shorten the leg a couple of inches to complete the pair from a single skein of sock yarn. Nice socks though! The socks are donated to charity at the end of the challenge, so that's good enough for me.

Remind me next week to tell you about the awesome yarn I found in my mailbox from lovely Frieda at Restless Needles, as well as the vacation yarn I picked up while visiting Savannah! Happy New Year everyone!