Two Socks Begun

And I don’t mean two socks the same – I just don’t work that way!

A bit over a week ago, I was ready to start something new and decided to work on Meg’s socks in Kabam, her wool, bamboo, nylon blend, that she feels is more suited to transitional seasons.  (Who knows they will be done in time for this spring, but that’s the way the cookie crumbles.)  These are in a colorway from her last club called Wired.  It’s a very cheerful and lively colorway, and I felt that a simple, rich texture was what was called for.  I looked through my Barbara Walker treasuries and in volume 3 (the charted one) I found a stitch called Nubby Stitch.  I fiddled with some variants, but in the end I decided I liked the original the best.  Here is what I have so far:

It’s a pretty simple stitch (3 stitches, 4 rows and two of the rows are straight knit) but I think it’s got a lot of impact, and I feel that it suits this colorway perfectly.  (The blue is a bit more green in real life but the depiction isn’t too bad.) However, before I embark on the heel shaping, I want to show this to Meg and get her take on it.  So this one is resting (until Sunday, when we’re going to have dinner with them.)

The other skein I had sitting around was a skein of Intrigue, a colorway in which I’ve already made a pair of socks for Meg and a shawl for me, this time in Tasty, her fingering-weight Merino / Cashmere / Nylon blend.  It’s a pleasure to knit anything in this yarn.  I decided this was going to be a pair of socks for me.  I thought a wavy pattern would be fun, so I grabbed my copy of Ripple Stitch Patterns by Jan Eaton.  I found a stitch called Welting Fantastic.  That stitch is an 11-stitch, 12 row pattern.  It has 6 rows of knit shaped sections, using K2tog and K2tog tbl as the decreases and knit front and back for the increases, and this is followed by six rows of all purl (once you’ve converted the flat pattern for knitting in the round.)  I switched it to be a 9-stitch, 10 row pattern.  My version has a nine-stitch shaped section using K2tog and SSK for the decreases and YO for the increases followed by a nine-stitch purl section.  There are only 4 rows of purl and 6 of the shaped sections.  The patterns interlock a little.  And the pattern really doesn’t look similar at all.  So I kind of think I’ve unvented a little pattern stitch here, to use Elizabeth Zimmerman’s great term for this process.

Here is the start of the sock, photographed flat.

I think that stitch is a lot of fun, especially in self-striping yarn.  I also took a shot of the sock on one of my foot dummies.  It doesn’t look nearly as cool, but I think a lot of that is the photo.

I find that I’m thinking about what else the stitch pattern would be good for.  It really needs to be knit in the round in its current incarnation.  I think it would make a really cool muff.  Or a double-thickness cravat, with this stitch on both ends (maybe a diamond on each end?) and a narrower stockinette tube for the center.  With some form of slot worked in, perhaps.  At any rate, I think I am going to enjoy these socks!

And, by the way, I did make it to urgent care last night – and almost nobody was there, so it only took an hour from leaving the house to getting back, and I got my prescription for anti-inflammatories, aka steroids, which is what usually gets rid of my coughs.  So here I am, starting another week of vacation together with medications.  I hope it will work out and I’ll be back to normal by the end of the week.

Posted in Design, Knitting, Socks | Tagged , , , | 3 Comments

Another Shawl and a Pair of Socks

Around April 5, I finished a pair of socks for Meg with one of the colorways from her last club called Intrigue.  This delicate colorway contains pink and a lovely pale denim blue.  This pair of socks has two texture patterns, sand stitch and moss stitch.  The stitch pattern changes when the color changes, and the pairing of stitch with color is reversed in the two socks.  Here is a picture of the pair.  (I always feel that a photo of the pair is necessary to prove that I really did make it through the second sock.)

The difference in the pattern stitches was probably not as dramatic as it should have been – the contrast really doesn’t show up any better in real life than in this photo.

Late last week, I finished knitting my second Daybreak, which I find by looking at Ravelry was started early last July.  This is made from some yarn that (for once) was not dyed by my daughter Meg (of Twisted Fiber Art).  This was yarn we picked up in Columbus at Knitters Connection.  It was dyed by Kimber of Fiber Optic in her Merino / Cashmere / Nylon blend yarn.  We picked it up to try out when Meg was still deciding whether or not to carry it.  (She does – it comes in fingering weight, called Tasty, and heavier, somewhere between sport and worsted, called Yummy.  I love it.)  The colors of the Fiber Optic yarn are just delicious.  I made a pair of socks for myself in the yarn which I managed to finish in about ten days – here’s how the socks look.

I started this Daybreak, the second I’ve made, just after I finished the socks (in July, as I mentioned above) and I finished knitting it last week.  Then this week I actually blocked it.  And here’s how it looks on me.

I find that I enjoy this style of wearing it quite a bit – again, it stays put.  Here’s another way I tried that isn’t too bad.

I don’t know that it would stay in that configuration, but I do think it looks elegant.  The shawl was really designed for Meg.  Hopefully she will want it.  She has a real talent for wearing shawls in interesting ways, and I hope this one will inspire her.  At her request, I added one additional increase line on each end to the pattern – I haven’t had an opportunity for her to try it out yet.

Next post I will show you two socks, one for Meg and one for me, that I have started recently.  I think both of them are interesting.  We’ll see whether you agree!  My current plan is to go to urgent care when I get home from work tomorrow, so I may not get around to posting tomorrow at all.

Posted in Knitting, Shawls, Socks | Tagged , , , , | 2 Comments

Herbivore and Ziprelaxagon

I am going for interesting pattern names, apparently.  My Herbivore in Dazzle Arial is now blocked and I have been wearing it around some.  As always, I haven’t come up with great ways to arrange it, but some aren’t too bad.  I messed around with a feature in Adobe Photoshop Elements that apparently I’d been misusing before, and I came up with this floating Herbivore shot.

Next I just need to figure out how to give it a background.  But as is you can get an idea of one way it can be worn.  And here’s an actual modeled shot:

I look pretty bad, but the shawl looks cool this way, I think.  The multiple triangles do add to the interest once you can get it arranged well, anyhow.  I hope to see whether Meg can come up with some good ways to wear it.

And I’ve also finished the first of the Ziprelaxagons.  Since I have two balls of yarn (either of which is big enough to make the pair, probably) I felt fine to go ahead and do the cuff now.  So here are some shots of the sock modeled.  First the bottom of the sock.  This shot used flash – there were problems both ways.  You can see how smoothly the sock conforms to the foot.

Here is a non-flash shot of the side of the sock.

This shot was originally way too dark, and lightening it gives some inaccuracy, but not all that much.  I think this shows the shaping quite well.

I love this pattern.  It’s fun and different, and it fits so well!  The details in the pattern are just amazing.  Thanks for the great job, Kirsten!

Posted in Knitting, Shawls, Socks | Tagged , , , , | 4 Comments

I Didn’t Actually Fall off the Earth

Sorry I’ve been so silent lately.  After I finally went to urgent care for my cold on March 18th, I worked my way through my medication (which lasts a week) and my cough was just fading away when boom!  both Franklin and I got a second cold.  And I’m still feeling exhausted and draggy and my cough is worse than ever (whine, whine!)

I have managed to get some knitting done through the period, though.  Firstly, I managed to finish the knitting on my Dazzling Herbivore some time ago.  Here’s what it looked like when all knitted but not blocked.

The colors are gorgeous, and this shot doesn’t do too bad a job conveying them.  The curling is pretty bad – it looks great blocking but of course the proof will be in the wearing.  Here’s a blocking shot:

The geometry of the pattern is a whole lot more dramatic at this stage.  I’m really looking forward to seeing how it works on.  I’m going to try it on myself as well as Meg and Hazel and see what it does for each of us.  I really don’t know what to expect!

I’ve finished knitting two more things and made some great progress on my Ziprelaxagon socks.  I’m saving those for some more brief posts in the coming week.  And I’ve started another pair of socks for Meg that I’m feeling very enthusiastic about.  So I hope to have quite a bit more for you in the near future.

Posted in Knitting, Shawls | Tagged , , , | 4 Comments

Embellishments (Wildcard)

I don’t have any thoughts on today’s Blog Week topic, which is what you plan to learn / accomplish in the next year.  Instead, I’m choosing another topic which I don’t have too much to say about, but at least something.  What embellishment have I done?  Not very much (unless you count the beads and I already used that for something else) except for the occasional attachment of some flowers, etc.

I have two examples to offer.  First of all, I made a hat for Hazel for Christmas out of the Octarine colorway.  I chose to make it top down, starting with the yellow-green of the Evolution.  The other end of the colorway is pink, and partway through the knitting I decided that I wanted to make some flowers in that color.  Which I did – here’s a shot that shows the flowers pretty well.

I love how that came out.

Another project with an embellishment is a doll outfit I made which also includes a hat with embellishment.   Here it is:

This remarkable little doll is only about six inches tall, and she’s “Earth Mother” shaped.  Here’s a picture of her in a bathing suit to show that, so that you will understand why the coat makes her “look fat” – I don’t really think it’s out of scale.

So that’s my experiment in embellishment.

Posted in Dolls, Grandchildren, Knitting | Tagged , , , , | 3 Comments

A Twisted Fiber Art Rainbow

Posted in Knitting, Twisted Fiber Art | Tagged , , , | 5 Comments

Socks to Keep

In February of 2008 I knit a pair of socks that I was really looking forward to making.  I had made a swatch for my daughter Meg of Twisted Fiber Art in this colorway and pattern and decided I really wanted to have a pair of socks after this model.  As I knit these socks, I wrote down the pattern and it was published in March of 2008 as Show-off Stranded Socks (Rav link).  Since then, there have been 461 other pairs of these socks knitted and recorded on Ravelry.  So this is, by my lights, an extremely successful pattern.

And the socks themselves – I love them.  Here’s a photo:

If you look closely at that picture, you’ll see that the gussets on these socks are a bit different from the standard style.  Also, I knit different patterns in the gussets of the two socks, because I wanted to offer choices and thought it would be good to have photos of the various choices.  The socks still feel lovely and look very fresh.  They’re among my favorite socks.

A couple of years ago, Meg and I made a trip to Columbus, Ohio, to attend TNNA.  We stayed in a nice hotel and had a most interesting and busy trip.  When I unpacked after I got home, I discovered to my horror that my Stranded Teacake socks were missing. I was horrified.  Any pair of handknit socks would be a huge loss, but this particular pair was one I really didn’t want to lose.  So I phoned the hotel – which is the sort of thing I really, really hate doing.  I was delighted to hear that they knew exactly what I was talking about and would mail them to me as soon as I sent them enough money for postage, and they’d even accept the money electronically.  Within a surprisingly short period of time, my socks and I were reunited.  I’m glad every time I wear them that I went to the trouble of getting them back!

Posted in Knitting, Life | Tagged , , , , | 3 Comments

Organized? Not so much

Organized is not something that I generally am, at least when it comes to physical objects.  As far as knitting goes, I tend to have yarn near where I spend my time – at the computer.  So there are usually some bits of yarn on the desk and some on the bookcase behind it.  And in various knitting bags.

I am a little organized in one case – I have my circular needles in a fishing tackle case and I actually put quite a few of them in it at any one time.  There are always a few sitting around loose, but more are filed in pockets by size.  It’s very helpful when I need more needles.

Thanks to Ravelry, though, I am pretty organized in the history of my knitting projects.  I joined Ravelry in September of 2007.  I currently have 134 projects on Ravelry, 5 frogged, 7 hibernating, 13 in progress and the rest finished.  I don’t always put a project on Ravelry right away, but I do create a project once I’m pretty convinced that I’m going to continue it.  I’ve been trying to declare projects as hibernating when I’m not really working on them any more, but this review shows there are several more that should be switched from in progress to hibernating.  I generally put quite a bit of information in my notes, and I find it extremely useful to go back to.

One of my in progress projects is a Herbivore I’m knitting in Arial in one of the colorways from Meg’s last club called Dazzle.  I can’t capture the colors well, but this shot does at least give some notion of the subtle color gradations in this colorway.

I’ve made further progress since that shot – I’m beginning the light blue showing on the outside of that ball – and I’m just loving it!  Pretty soon, I should get that done.  I’m really looking forward to seeing how it works out.

Posted in Knitting | Tagged , , | 3 Comments

Hmmm – What is New

OK, I’ve been knitting for over 50 years.  It utterly amazes me to say that, but it’s so.  I started knitting in high school and by the time I left for college I had made intarsia, fair isle, lace and texture sweaters and explored lots of other techniques as well.  I also did quite a lot of Irish crochet – the lacy kind with flowers or shamrocks in the center of squares.  So I haven’t really been able to find new things to work on every year since.  But just recently I have embarked on something that I don’t remember doing before – including beads in my knitting.  I’ve only completed two projects so far.

First was the pair of cuffs that I made and gave to Hazel.  I got a pattern by Sivia Harding called Aquitaine.  I picked it partly because I knew Sivia as one of the gurus of knitting with beads and partly because it used just about the amount of yarn I had in colors that went with the only beads I had.  I didn’t have enough beads to put them in all the places called for in the pattern, but I like how it came out anyhow.  Here’s a picture of Hazel showing them off:

Her graceful young hands (with nail polish, no less!) look so good in these.  This was a fun pattern to work with.  There are some beads you put on the edge, then the vertical columns are done by stringing beads in advance.  The others are added in by crochet hook (or dental floss – see below).  The beads are oriented differently in the two techniques, so it’s really good to have a chance to try them both out in a first pattern.  I do recommend this pattern as a starting point in beading.

In fact, I had enough fun with this pattern that I ordered more beads quite rapidly.  The beads I used on Aquitaine were size 6 – they are quite large.  They should work fine on sport to (I’d guess) worsted weight, but did seem a bit heavy on the fingering weight yarn (kabam!) that I used.  So I looked around for some smaller beads.  The next common size appears to be size 8.  They are quite a bit smaller and work great on fingering weight yarn.  I ordered three colors to match the three colors in some yarn I was knitting a pair of socks in and knew I’d have some leftovers of.  I also ordered a couple of size 7 beads, which are quite rare.  They are in some odd shapes but pretty colors, and I haven’t tried them out yet.  I did use my three colors of size 8 beads though, in a top for a member of my doll collection.  She’s 16 inches tall, and I had enough yarn to make her a pretty top.  Here’s how it came out:

I like the effect of using coordinating beads with each of the colors of yarn.  I think this size bead is lovely and am generally pleased with this top.  Oh, yes – the dental floss.  I read some more about how to insert a single bead and came across a reference to beading using some special floss which has a stiff end, then a section that’s thicker and springy, then some more-or-less normal floss.  It’s called Super Floss, by Oral B.  And this happened to be one of the products I’d got samples of from my dentist’s office – for use with my bridge.  Most people would not have this stuff lying around, but I was really glad to try it out and I think it works great!

I’ve really enjoyed my exploration of knitting with beads and I definitely plan to do some more.  What other new things can I try out?  I don’t really know.  We’ll see if I come up with anything.

Posted in Beads, Knitting | Tagged , , , | 1 Comment

Two Yarns

I’m delighted to be participating in the second year of Knitting and Crochet Blog Week.  I enjoyed it so much last year.  Thanks, Eskimimi!

My relationship with yarn has been different from most people’s for about five years – ever since my daughter began professionally dyeing yarn.  At the beginning, I used quite a bit of her yarn but was still using other yarns, but for the last several years, I have essentially used only yarns from Twisted Fiber Art – lucky me!  So these days, the only yarns I can really relate to are Meg’s yarns.

When I checked Ravelry to see which yarns I’d used a lot, I found one that seemed the right one to blog about in spot number one – Kabam!  This is a fingering-weight yarn consisting of 60% merino wool, 30% bamboo and 10% nylon.  I have made many pairs of socks from Kabam.  One of the ones I really enjoy is this pair, for Franklin:

This pair is made with two of Meg’s self-striping colorways (Netherfield and Kismet).  One of the features of this pair is that, due to the two-color brioche stitch, the texture is lush and slinky.  I love how they feel!  I think Kabam, with its bamboo content is great for this kind of stitch.

In addition to the self-striping colorways Meg dyes, she also dyes what she calls Evolutions, which many people seem to call gradience dyeing.  Kabam has been available in Evolutions for some time now.  I was lucky enough to get an Evolution in her Blaze colorway, enough to make a shawl.

The bamboo combined with wool makes a warm but light fabric which feels beautiful to wear.  I love Kabam for lots of purposes.

Another yarn that I love is called Catnip.  This yarn is a single ply, Aran weight 50% merino, 50% silk.  It makes splendid scarves and shawls, and I used it to make a blanket that I just love.

Meg’s self-striping colorways are so much fun to use with mitered squares!

When Meg first started dyeing Evolutions, we were looking for something to show off the style.  We decided that I should knit the then recently released (but already very popular) Fetching fingerless gloves with Catnip.  Meg dyed two matching Evolutions (which was a pain – she now only makes longer Evolutions than those) and I knit the first Fetching.  It did feel marvelous – this yarn is soft as can be!  But the mitt was shapeless and way too loose.  I had discovered something that a silk/merino single was just not ideally suited for.  So although I will be using Catnip lots more, I will think carefully about the characteristics I want in the final product before I start!

Posted in Knitting, Twisted Fiber Art | Tagged , , , | 6 Comments