Thursday, May 31, 2007

Waterfall Rib Socks

I've mentioned my addiction to Sunshine Yarns once or twice, yes? :-) It all started with that first skein of Stones Throw that I stumbled upon and used to make socks for my dad. So soft, with short color repeats. The whole knitting process was a dream. And I was jealous of the socks I gave away. Same thing with the socks I made for Herb the next month. But Herb informed me that they don't wear well, with bad pilling, and I had to test whether that was actually true or if it's because he abuses them (I TOLD him not to throw them in the dryer). So I made my own pair of socks with Sunshine Yarns:

Waterfall Rib Socks - 1 of 2

Pattern: Sensational Knitted Socks
Yarn: Sunshine Yarns Superwash Wool Soft, Violets, 1 skein
Needles: US 1.5 (US 0 for the cuffs)
Project Timeline: 3/24/07 - 5/17/07

Once again, this were a dream to knit. The pattern was easy to memorize, and I just enjoyed the process. They started out as subway knitting, before I switched jobs, and then I was having trouble fitting them in to my knitting queue, hence the almost two months it took to make them. But now they are done, and it's too warm to wear them!

I decided to use Sensational Knitted Socks for the stitch pattern more than anything. I cast on 72 stitches, worked K1P1 ribbing for 20 rounds, then did 12 pattern repeats. I took more than half the stitches (39, to be exact, decreasing one on the first round to get an even number) and then worked an eye of partridge heel (which I LOVE). I decreased down to a total of 65 stitches for the foot, which works perfectly for my feet. For the toe, I worked a standard wedge toe until I had half the stitches (32), then I decreased every round until I had a quarter of the stitches (16) and kitchenered. I gotta say it's one of my best toes ever, and it fits really well.

Here's a close up of the stitch pattern, gusset and eye of partridge heel:

Waterfall Rib Socks - 2 of 2

I know I should probably throw a little bit of abuse at them, but I kinda don't want to. :-P I have a ton of left over yarn, so maybe I'll make a few swatches that can be tested. We'll see.

Wednesday, May 30, 2007

Finishing Old Projects

Sometimes a project really gets away from you. Take for instance the camisole you are about to see. I started this last summer (early summer, too, in June sometime) and I'm sure I did most of the knitting in a short amount of time. The yarn, Knit Picks Main Line, was easy to work with because of the wool content and it's a color I love. But I got all the way to the decreases, to the point where I had only 12 total stitches left and just needed to do some i-cord straps, when I realized the top was huge. I was ready to frog it and start over, this time with smaller needles, but I just threw it in a bag and forgot about it until a few months ago. I took out, this time definitely planning on recapturing the yarn, but decided to try it on again just to make sure. And this time, well, maybe it wasn't so big (gaining weight will do that). It certainly seemed wearable enough, and while maybe not the best fit, better than the prospect of frogging, washing the yarn and then knitting a whole new top. So I finished it, and wore it for the first time this weekend. Here's the "Honeymoon Cami":

Honeymoon Cami #2

Pattern: Knitty
Yarn: Knit Picks Main Line, Red Velvet Cake, 8 skeins
Needles: US 5
Project Timeline: 6/06 - 4/7/07

I knit the large size, and I used a different lace pattern for the bottom edge - I'm not sure what it is at this point, but it was from my knitting pattern a day calendar from last year. It wore well during the day - I barely noticed it (I'm not a fan of the bagging in the armpit area, but what can you do - if I make the straps longer it will be too low cut for what I want). The wool/cotton blend was nice on a pretty muggy day. This is my second honeymoon cami, and I think for now I'm going to move on to different knit tanks. Still a pretty nice pattern, though.

I took this picture using the self-timer option on my camera. I look ridiculously silly, and tried a few more times to get a shot where I wasn't looking so high up, but those cut off my head, and I grew tired of trying. Maybe next time.

Wednesday, May 09, 2007

I want to make lace!

I keep staring at the pictures in Victorian Lace Today. It's such a pretty book. I started dreaming last night about making every single shawl in there (okay, almost every single one - I'm not loving the collar things toward the end of the book), and then making VARIATIONS of the shawls with different center motifs and borders. I could get very, very addicted to lace it seems (just like socks!). Maybe lace will be preferred summer knitting and socks will be preferred winter? Who knows.

I have yarn, too. I have four skeins of Rowan Kidsilk Haze in Anthracite. That is destined to be a rectangular shawl for me to keep at work ( I get cold easily). I also have three different cones of 2/28 silk laceweight from Colourmart (the colors are wine, camel and Melissa - a very pale green, as they say), and one of them is destined to be that half-moon shaped shawl. And just this morning I was thinking that I certainly have a skein of two of sock yarn that I wouldn't mind making a shawl out of, possibly one of those wide-bordered scarves that have the fun construction (knit edge border, turn, knit body, turn, knit edge border).

I have promised myself I will finish the pinwheel blanket first, though, before I start a lace project. It's just getting harder to hold myself to that.

Tuesday, May 08, 2007

Perfect Yarn Color

I have a bit of a hand-dyed sock yarn buying habit. :-) Lorna's Laces, Socks That Rock, Schaeffer Anne, Mountain Colors Bearfoot, and of course Etsy. I may have found the PERFECT sock yarn color for me though:

Sunshine Yarns Black Rose Triple Dye

The yarn is Sunshine Yarns Superwash Twist yarn in Black Rose Triple Dye, and as you often here with these things, the photo does not do the yarn justice. It is way more subtle and just absolutely perfect for me. This is destined to be Mata Hari Socks, which I've been on the hunt for yarn for a long time.

And with that, I'm back to a yarn diet. I'm going to Italy (!) in September, and I really need to start being frugal. I have enough sock yarn for at least 40 pairs of socks (more I'm sure, plus the more leftovers I have the more the options keep building), plus plenty of yarn for other projects (4 summer tops, another cardigan, a short-sleeved sweater, the afghan WIP, some fingerless gloves, a fair isle mittens/hat/scarf set, other scarves, lace) that I really don't need any yarn or patterns for awhile. So, no yarn until my passport arrives (I applied this past Saturday, so 6-10 weeks from now). Once my passport arrives, I am allowing myself to treat myself to enough yarn for a sweater (probably Eiffel) and a few skeins of yarn for birthday presents (some presents can hopefully be done from the stash). And then no yarn until Italy. I can do that, right? I managed to get through all of Lent, so I'm sure this will be fine.

Monday, May 07, 2007

Sunshine Yarns Sock Club - April and Weekend Knitting

Here is the April shipment of the Sunshine Yarns Sock Club:

Sunshine Yarns Sock Club - April

The color is called Airy Triple Dye, and I think it's my favorite of the four I've received so far. It's mostly light blue with little flecks of brown. The pattern is a nice bonus, because I wasn't expecting it when I signed up. Dani said in a note that there will probably also be a pattern with the last shipment as well.

Weekend knitting was spent working on the three main projects. I made some progress on the baby blanket - I'm on to the 7th of 9 balls of green yarn. At this point each ball gets me no more than 10 rows (and that could go down) and I have over 600 stitches on the blanket, which should mean a diameter of 30". I also worked on the cardigan - the body is finished and I've moved on to the first sleeve. This is going rather quickly - I think I overestimate how long it takes to make a garment sometimes (thinking back to the tops I knit last summer). And I did a few pattern repeats on the sock - I was hoping to get more done but that was not to be. It will probably become a priority if (when, really) I finish the main cardigan knitting before the sock is finished. I can only really do two rows on the baby blanket at a time (weekends I can get 4 rows done in a day if I do 2 rows in the morning and 2 more at night).

Friday, May 04, 2007

Another WIP

I can't believe I forgot a WIP! I am not sure where this one goes... on the one hand, I started it a few weeks ago. On the other, it's not really on my radar.... it's the Colorful Waves Throw, using Knit Picks' Mix and Mingle Kit in Storm. I'm throw 3 full color repeats, but like I said, not on my radar. Probably a long-term project that I only pick up occasionally. I started it as a "I'm feeling sorry for myself" thing, and maybe I'll keep it limited to times when I need some comfort knitting.

Just Knitting Away....

Now that I finally have this thing all updated and ahem, backdated, hopefully I can start doing regular posts. It would figure that when I finally get around to starting a knitting blog, my life kinda goes a little haywire. I think that I've finally settled back into a routine (maybe not one that I'd like, but it is a routine and it is rather stress-free).

I was going to show a picture of a new yarn purchase that is the most beautiful and perfect color for me, but I forgot the cord to my camera. Instead, I'll just talk a little bit about ongoing knitting projects.

There are three that I'm really working on right now...

Cropped Cardigan with Leaf Ties I'm doing this in Knit Picks Andean Silk - Cream, as I mentioned (and showed) in earlier posts. I'm enjoying it, although I am to the point on the body where all the increases are done, so it's rather boring knitting. Still, after so many socks, it's nice to see the fabric grow quickly (about 6 rows an inch). I have a total of 9 balls of Andean Silk in one dyelot, and 3 in another - I'm hoping it won't make a difference with the cream, and that will allow me to extend the cardigan to a longer length and longer sleeves.

Pinwheel Blanket This is being done in Knit Picks Shine Sport - the body is in Grass and I'm going to put a garter-stitch ruffle on the edge in Cream. It is taking F O R E V E R. I had originally ordered 6 balls of Grass and 2 of Cream, but it became clear that wasn't going to make a big enough blanket, so I ordered 3 more in Grass and 2 more in Cream, and that's it, I swear (not sure how much Cream I'll need, I just want to make sure it's enough). The blanket is for my friend Jaime's baby - she's the first of my friends to have a baby, so I wanted to do something special. She was due around, well, now, but the baby came 3 weeks early! Yikes! She had a healthy baby boy, though, named Cathan. I do have a hat that I made for him, and hopefully I can get that out this weekend and get the blanket done by the end of the month. Cotton kills my hands, though.

Waterfall Rib Socks The stitch pattern for these socks is from Sensational Knitted Socks, and I'm using Sunshine Yarns Superwash Wool (not the new Twist yarn) in Violets. I cast on 72 stitches, did 1x1 rib for 20 rows, 12 pattern repeats, Eye of Partridge heel (my first one!), knit to fit my size 9 feet, and ended with a wedge toe. The first sock is done and I'm on the cuff of the second. I haven't been motivated to work on this for some reason, but I would like to finish the socks before I start my April Rockin' Sock Club kit, and I'd like THOSE done before I receive the June kit, so I guess I'd better pick up the pace!

I also have the hat I knit for Cathan, which just needs to be blocked, and Convertible for my sister, which I finished last weekend, that also needs to be blocked (and it needs buttons).

Other projects that are sort of... thrown aside for now:

Tubey When I started this, I thought the first time I knit it I would use really cheap yarn, because I'd never knit a sweater before. So, I bought a ton of Lion Brand Wool-Ease, and, well, I've learned I hate knitting with Wool-Ease and I will probably never wear a sweater knit in it. So, I may abandon this one, and start Tubey at a later date with nicer yarn (Knit Picks, at least!).

Worsted Weight Socks These were my first socks. I used some black Wool-Ease that I had and that's how I learned how to make socks. The only problem was that I ran out of the black Wool-Ease somewhere on the foot of the second sock, and I don't really want to buy more. So these will probably never get finished, unless I decide to take out the toe on the first sock, finish the foot on the second sock, and then knit the toes in contrasting Wool-Ease (come to think of it, I might do that just to get them off my WIP list).

iPod Cozy This is basically done - I had just left 2 stitches live so that I could make an i-cord chain and attach a little pocket to store the headphones in. It wouldn't take too long to finish, but it's usable as it is (the live stitches are on a safety pin) and my iPod is broken, so why bother? I used Cascade Fixation in a striping sage green color.

Washclothes Lots of washclothes, actually. One set in cream-colored Sugar and Cream, and another in Classic Elite Cotton Chenille. Each set is supposed to be 3 washclothes. I think I have MAYBE 2 total washclothes done, and I haven't touched these since last summer. I'm really not all that found of working with cotton, so if I'm going to, I'd rather it be for something nicer than a washcloth.

Irish Hiking Scarf Oy. This one should be done. The problem is, I ran out of the wool I was using (and the scarf is way too short), and I couldn't find more. So, I bought some Cascade Eco Wool, which has plenty of yardage and is softer than the other stuff I had. I will restart this soon, but it's for my dad and he'll never wear a scarf anyway, so I haven't been in that much of a hurry.

To Dye For (From Stitch n' Bitch) I really liked the idea of doing this one, and I still do - I have one sleeve done, and it's a quick knit (using Knit Picks Suri Dream in Lilac). Hopefully I'll be motivated to pick this one up so that the sweater is done by fall.

Stockinette Scarf This one is pretty simple - done in a beautiful skein of Blue Moon Fiber Arts Kidmo (Periwinkle) that I picked up at The Fold while I was home visiting my family. It's for me, it's supposed to be for fun (it's going to have swarovski crystals at both ends) and I'm in no hurry. I work on a few rows here and there (though I lost a stitch somewhere and will probably have to take part of it out).

So that's it... 3 real WIPs and 7 (err, 8, really, if you count the washcloth projects separately) abandoned WIPs. I'd love to work to narrow this down so that I never have more than FIVE WIPs at a time. That's reasonable, right?

Now if only the work day was over so that I could knit...

Thursday, May 03, 2007

New Slippers!

What happens when you start wearing holes in your slippers? You knit new ones!

Fuzzy Feet

Pattern: Knitty
Yarn: Brown Sheep Lamb's Pride Worsted, Periwinkle, 2 skeins
Needles: US 10.5
Project Timeline: 4/15/07 - 4/17/07

I had been wanting to knit these for awhile, but just hadn't gotten around to buying the yarn and doing so. But, I had been so good and did not buy a single skein of yarn during Lent (so I got Sock Club shipments, that doesn't count) - so I decided to use my store credit at Spark for yarn for new slippers. I got 1 skein of the Lamb's Pride and 5 skeins of Tahki Cotton Classic, and after store credit, it only cost me a few dollars. That was great, except... I ran out of yarn four rows before the toe decreases started on the second slipper. :-( I ended up buying 2 more skeins of the Lamb's Pride, so that I could make a second pair of slippers, either as backup or when these wear out. They were such a quick knit that I might just knit them, felt them and put them away sometime when I'm looking for a fast project.

The Lamb's Pride felted super fast - just one trip through the washer (Cascade 220 usually takes a few trips). And they are really warm and cozy, too. The only thing I miss from my old store-bought slippers is the extra padding on the bottom. I may look into slipper bottoms for the next pair. I was going to put puff paint on the bottom of them, but there is minimal slipping and sliding on my hardwood floors, so I probably won't bother with this pair.