Friday, January 30, 2015

And Now, The Socks are Done

I had some orange sock yarn, not a bright as the orange in the color way, and I had some cherry red, which was a very good match, and I had some purple. There is only smidgen of purple in the colorway, but it blends in nicely.

So I add in some rows of orange, and cherry and purple, and alternated with the brightly colored yarn, and just had enough to finish the toe.. (inches left over!) I ran out of yarn for one toe long before I was finished, but the second sock had more yarn, and in the end it worked out.

What a pain though, all the ends to weave in. Because it is the toe of the sock, I didn't want to carry the orange yarn up 7 rounds.. so each pair of stripes is a pair of ends to weave in. 10 ends alone from the stripes, and the cast on and bind off, plus one more set of ends from when I ran out of yarn. I only had one mini skein of each color, so I was working using inside and out sides of the mini balls, and that just made for trouble.

These aren't favorite socks, but socks are socks. They will be worn. They are loose around ankles on LEGS, but they fit my ankles just fine.

So as the month comes to an end, I have 3 projects completed: a pair of socks, a cowl and a hat.

And I am close to completing the documentation for the hat and cowl—these patterns should be up just as the month draws to a close. A good month!

I am going to knit a swatch first for the booties, and then I will sort through the sock yarn and find some go together scraps for a pairs of mittens. I have a lot of white, and some black, and navy, Miss C has a navy coat with white polka dots, and Miss J has a pretty hot pink coat.

And I have yarn left over from their hoods—which have worked out very well—The girls hated them at first, but now... they wear them with out protest, and never try to pull them off. They now know how to pull them off! These little ones are just too smart for their own good.

Thursday, January 29, 2015

A Hat...

How about that! And what a lovely hat it is!  Started Monday, finished Wednesday.

I've liked this stitch pattern forever, and kept saying to my self, I should knit this up in something, and now in a month, month and a half, or so, I have knit 4 hats, and cowl using this pattern, With each new project, I like the pattern more and more.

Specifically, I like that the pattern is jog-free—Naturally. See photo to the left.  The jog is slightly noticeable at the hem/cast on edge, but no where else.

 I really don't mind jogs, and never make much effort to hide them, but it is nice when a pattern work out to be naturally jog proof. It means those who care are happy, and those who don't are too.

I like how this pattern looks, when done in solids, and when done in polychromes..The hats I have made have been knit flat, (stranded color work) and seamed, knit in the round, and lined, and now, double knit –or warm, warmer and warmest versions, plus a cowl.. A whole lot of ways to use this diamond pattern.

I like this hat so much, I am going to make another--in different colors, but the same pattern.

Tomorrow, I will start a pair of booties for the girls, (maybe with matching Mittens). And if not matching blue mittens, some sort of mittens.. Maybe a red or pink pair of mitten too, for Valentines day. There is plenty of winter left.

Before that, I will rustle up some sock yarn to finish the brightly colored socks that are toe-less for the moment.

Tuesday, January 27, 2015

Well, Since I Know the Pattern

Why stop now? Why not a matching, well semi matching, hat? I only had 2 skeins of the Blueberry color. I remember having a project in mind when I bought this yarn. I had purchased several colors, with an idea of a stranded color work scarf/ shawl. But that idea faded, and I ended up with a few skeins of of colors (2 blueberry, 1 bayleaf, and 1 cinnamon) and 4 skeins of white. I suppose I could have bought more (do I need more yarn?) but they wouldn't be the same dye lot, and...

I finished the Cowl Sunday, (well I finished the knitting) I still had some ends to weave in when I photographed it yesterday. When I was done, I started the hat. It's fast work because it is so many few stitches—and I can just look at the last row worked, and know what I have to do on the next row to continue. I have abandon the chart!

So last night I got the first 3 inches done. Hats are only 6 or so inches –(before shaping for the crown) so it's not quite half done!

Most often, I can learn a stitch pattern in a few repeats, but this pattern is hard for me. So I am pleased to have gotten to a point where I know it. I always have problems with the kind of patterns that move both left and right—it takes me forever to commit them to memory.

I am using the same wool—Lion Brand's Alpine Wool, White and Bayleaf. (I think this is an icy blue, not the gray green of a Bayleaf—but what does that matter?) There might be another hat after this one--in a lovely warm cinnamon brown and white. Not immediately after, but I have promised some warm hats to friends who have been having a hard time of it this winter. Now that I know the pattern, I might be lazy and just make the same hat, over and over again.

I have other knitting to do, there were weeks back in 2014 where I hardly knit a stitch—but now my fingers want nothing more that to work to the rhythm of knitting.

Monday, January 26, 2015

Hot Off the Needle

And just in time for a major nor'easter—a thick warm cowl to snuggle into—should I have to go out!
I am going to do my best to avoid that (going out) for the next 48 hours or so. All stocked up on staples, and its unlikely I will loose power (no above ground power wires to fail)

This cowl is sized to be worn out side of a coat or jacket--but when I write up the pattern, there will be a smaller sized option for wearing inside of your coat or jacket. The large size  can also be worn as a hood --as all cowls, should be able to worn. See image below.

The smaller size will be more of neck warmer--and not really cowl (and not something that can be worn as a hood.) 

3 feet of the white fluffy stuff doesn't bring things to a halt usually in NYC—but it will slow things down for couple of days. Snow falls like this have been career changers for some mayors, and DeBlasio, it trying to get out in front of it. Emphasizing this storm has the potential to break all previous records, and the the Dept of Sanitation has about 6,000 miles of streets to clear.

All of which doesn't matter—Every one wants their street plowed NOW. Manhattan always get priority. There will be reporter from all 3 major networks, out side their corporate offices in Midtown, lauding the great work being done. Showing off clear streets and sidewalks, lauding the great job Sanitation is doing. Meanwhile us folks in Queens will be waiting to see our first plow. We realize that Sanitation is doing a good job—many times our neighbors are those San men... But Queens is the largest (geographically—over 100 square miles) and often the last served borough.

Well enough of local politics! Let me get back to my knitting...

And what lovely knitting is is! Not perfect (but a little blocking will take care of that) 32 inches and 96 stitches almost perfectly grafted—There is s slight change in tension but you have to look for it to see it. The grafted edge is the white edge on this photo, to left.

One big (2 stitches) mistake found—It's only on what was the inside and I have just enough blue yarn to do some duplicate stitches to mend.

I pushed my luck—and finished with about 18 inches of yarn left over—Well 18 inches of the Blue yarn. The White yarn, left me with a yard or two. It's funny how that works out. As I came to the end of the first skeins, I had enough blue yarn to do one quarter of a round. The white yielded enough for a full last round (well 90%--just 6 stitches short of a complete round. The left over bit of white really represents those extra 2 yards or so—One yard or so from each skein.

I measured the yarn needed for a full round as I came closer and closer to the end. A full round required a little less than 3 full yards... Which is just about right—a general rule is: 1 row (or round) requires about 3x's the width of the work. A 32 inch round (almost a full yard) needed almost 3 yards of yarn to complete. You always need to add a bit extra, because the real factor isn't 3, it is PI. The point one four(.14) is needed too.

It's just a general rule, based on the fact that each stitch is made by wrapping the yarn round the needle. But stitches aren't really round (but close to it). I always use 3—and then add a bit extra.. I rounded up to 3 yards for the grafted bind off.. I had enough to work all my grafted stitches, and about 12 inches left over. Not a lot—but anything less would have been worrisome and uncomfortable to work with.

I think I would have needed more for another type of bind off—a standard bind off, (where you knit a stitch, and then pull it over the next knit stitch requires MORE yarn!) I always allow 4 yards for a bind off—I always have some left over—but not much!  Not a full yard, or even a half yard.

This cowl is sized to wear out side of coat, not inside—but the pattern will have a smaller version for inside the coat wear, too.

In the mean while, I have cast on for a matching hat--This will be my third hat using this stitch pattern--One flat, one knit in the round and lined, and now the third, double knit.

Friday, January 23, 2015

Lots of Knitting

Not a lot of progress. Because sandwiched between the knitting was some frogging.

I don't know where I was mentally when I knit the last 2 rounds that finished the set of left leaning diamonds, but it certainly was not any where my knitting. As I started the next round –what I found was error, after error, after compound error—that is, a mistake I made 4 rounds previously, and had just continued! (Looking again at Wednesday's post and I see a half dozen errors alone in the photo!)

I am back on track now.. and the cowl is 9.5 inches long, and I am going for 11. I decided I wanted it long enough to wear as a hood –in which case it needs to be long enough to tuck into a jacket collar in back) or resting on my shoulders, and half covering my face (loosely!)--A double duty bit of knitting.

But I don't want to push it—and run out of yarn, and have to frog back (again!)

I want to finish it up today—and maybe I will.

This morning I made a quick little video on Interlocking Jacquard Double Knitting—which is what this cowl is. I figured it out on my own, (it took a couple of tries) but now days, the video tutorials are the way to go. One picture really  is worth a thousand words!

Thankfully, this winter has been so mild, I haven't needed anything like this. There have been a few cold days, and a few snow days—One is coming tomorrow. But today is above freezing, and the snow will be mixed with rain. And here in NYC, it promises to be a mostly rain event.

Tomorrow will also be the Girls (the twin girls) birthday party.. so I will be out and about. But I have umbrellas galore.

Wednesday, January 21, 2015

More Cowl

I could have dug out the big bag of left of sock yarn and found some yarn to finish the toes of the socks. Most often, I find 40 odd grams of sock yarn is plenty enough for a sock, so I have lots of mini skeins. Yet another reason why running out of yarn with the bright socks is so annoying!

I plan to do somethings with this yarn.. something big (a blanket?) and a bunch of small things, including a pair of crazy socks. But I can spare some for sock toes!  Instead, it was easier to work on the cowl.

Blue Diamonds on white
First off, I know I have enough yarn to complete this, and second off, the yarn was already started. And finally, I have just gotten to the point where I once again know the pattern, and can work with out reference to the chart.

White Diamonds on blue
It is not incredible hard, but it is a pattern that requires attention  Besides, the pattern is one for what ever reason, I find hard to remember. There are always some stripes going to the left, and a bunch more going to the right—Until it changes and more are going left, and fewer are going right.

Right now, I have just finished the left leaning stripes, (which is about 1.3 repeat) and the cowl is 8 inches (and bit). I keep trying it on, and I think I want more. I would be pushing it if I tried to do another full repeat, (Since I didn't get a full repeat out of my first 2 skeins of yarn!) and at this point, its is somewhat symmetrical—the pattern started with the beginning of a right leaning diamond, and now its at the end of left leaning diamond. I think I might continue till there is 1.5 repeat—which will be a Right leaning diamond, a left leaning diamond and the another full right leaning diamond.

It is so warm and cozy, but I want it a little taller. I am really loving this cowl. I definitely want to keep this for my self, but I am thinking about making another—to share with a friend who is always cold--maybe just another cowl, (not this stitch pattern).  But I have so many other things to knit--It might be April before I get around to it.

Did I mention I am also writing up the pattern for this? Well I am. I want to have a finished photo, and final row count, but much of the pattern is already to go.

Tuesday, January 20, 2015


I have finished the foot of the bright colorful socks, and it's very clear that:
A: there isn't enough yarn to complete the toe
B: The skeins are uneven—so I will have a small amount of  yarn left over (even as I have to add yarn!)

I have some mini skeins of sock yarn in various solids—hot pink, orange, and a dark turquoise blue.. I am not sure which color I will end up using. Maybe some stripes of solids (all 3 colors) and some stripes of the polychrome yarn.

I know I can come up with solutions—and I know I have yarn (left over mini skeins of sock yarns) that will work, but its still annoying.

I hate short skeins. I know its partly do to the yarn weight—sock yarn comes in various weight/sizes, and some yarns, like Patons Kroy yarn does come in very short (as measured by the yard) skeins. It is also a bit heavier (thicker) than average sock yarn. But Kroy is a bargain yarn—It might list for $7 a skein, but with coupons and sales, I rarely pay more than half that per skein (a 50g skein). Even a third skein brings the cost of a pair of sock to about $10. Even the huge socks I knit for my S-I-L--(men'
s size 10 wide)  last fall didn't take a FULL 3 skeins. I have enough left over of the third skein to make a water bottle cover--(Which is exactly what I plan to do with it!)

Hand painted sock yarns are often $10 per 50g skein. $20 worth of sock yarn really should be enough—for a tall or wide pair of socks. I concede, this yarn isn't a likely choice for a pair of men's socks, but then not all women have dainty feet (size 6 or 7, B width). This just reminds me why I don't often splurge on fancy expensive socks yarn—I know I didn't buy this, but likely got it in a swap, but it is disappointing all the same. I have to come up with a fix.  

As for the cowl, I ran out of the first 2 skeins at round 23—and 6 inches of knitting. I will have plenty with skeins 3 and 4 to make a nice tall cowl. 9 or 10 or even 11 inches! This kind of pattern isn't knit in straight lines. It starts midpoint in the left leaning diamonds, and row 1 of the right leaning, and ends mid point in a left leaning set. So a single repeat of the pattern creates 1 full set of diamonds, and 2 half sets.

A bit more than dozen rounds from now, I will have a complete set of left leaning diamonds, (and another half set of right leaning.) That will be close to 7/7.5 inches of knitting—I might stop there... But likely not. I'll likely could continue and have another full set of right leaning.. and end with half a set of left leaning. Where ever I end,  I will always have to end with one set of diamonds half (or partially done.

I'll have to see how it goes. I tried the cowl on last night, and wow, is it warm. I think I could wear this alone on a cold day and still be warm.