Saturday, October 27, 2007

Sock Stuff

Last year at this point, I'd knit 10 pairs of socks. (in total I knit 13 pairs in 2006)

This year, I've completed 5.
I didn't finish a single pair of socks from January to July!
So far, this year, there have been the Koigu socks (6months in the making!), the Autumnal socks, the Blues, (overdyed Lion Brand yarn), and the Faggoted Ribs socks.

Just finished are ho hum generic socks in a self striping yarn.
Knit top down --with a Channel Island cast on, an after-thought heel (a banded heel) and banded toe.
Nothing wrong with them, but they just don't 'sing'. The self striping pattern is almost perfectly matched, but the socks are just –socks.

Last night-- I started a new pair of socks.. they are flying off my needles.. I love them—the toe is long (almost 2 inches), and another 2 inches beyond that have been knit!

The yarn is left over Kroy sock yarn.. an incomplete ball of a medium blue, another incomplete (but less so!) of the bright blue, and the third yarn is the same bright blue that I experimented with and overdyed—in a sort of hand painted colorway. The colors move from royal blue, to bright blue, to blue green to emerald green.
They are toe up, with a magic cast on, and lifted increases. On the top (instep) the pattern is one often called 'hook' but I always see it as waves.. so these are my ocean waves sock!

The sole of the sock is worked in a simple 3/1 pattern that doesn't have a name. I like this turkish style –with different patterns for the instep and sole for socks.. .
I tend to like (as a general rule) high constrast, but these socks are subtle shades of blue.. at times there is so little contrast, its hard to see the patterns.. but the ocean is like that.. sometimes so dark as to be almost black, sometimes so clear and bright, it looks like a swimming pool—but usually its just soft subtle shade of blue. (Well that's how its is here in the NY area anyway!)

At the same time, I have an other version of the Ruffle scarf (Amanda Brown's pattern from Scarf Style working in 2 shades of Mode Dea Bamboo wool (celery and moss green) The Ruffle scarf is pretty, but with all the short row, its slow going!

(and opening up, organizing, photographing, uploading and then packing away my stash--all this done for ravelry!-- is also eating up a good deal of my time!

80 plus entries in my ravelry stash, and I am still working on the wools!--still to come are cottons, and other fibers, cones, and mohairs and, of course, sock yarn!

Wednesday, October 10, 2007

Face Facts!

Do I need to say this? Stocking knit curls!

It is the nature of the stitch. It's not a fault. It's not a feature. It just is. Accept it.

Stocking knit will curl both lengthwise and widthwise--a conflict will sometimes keep the corners a bit flatter.. but stocking knit curls.

I could go into the science, but she did, and she did, and so did she --and so did many others.. a google search of “Why Stockinette curls” yields 20,000 + hits! If you want to better understand knitting, and the nature of stocking knit, you can read and understand why it curls. Or you could just accept the fact that it is the nature of stocking knit to curl.

This curling nature make stocking knit sweaters (held flat by seam) drape and conform to the human body. It makes socks and other items knit in the round (tubular knitting) fit well too.

You can fight it— But you'll lose.

Several recent threads on different BB's have knitters saying “I know stocking knit curls, but..
It doesn't seem to in this photograph --but when I try to knit the same thing, the stocking knit curls!?

It can be blocked away, right? --Even thought I am knitting with an synthetic fiber that can't be steam blocked.

What if I add a twisted stitch or a few garter stitches, or something else at the edge?

It won't curl if i knit it loose enough, right?


Forget it! Stocking knit curls!

Accept the nature of the stitch, and live with it.

Do you want a stocking knit scarf (a flat one?) Double side it--Like this one

You can knit the scarf in the round, or knit it flat and seam, or double knit it.

(You can block it from now till doomsday, and while you'll get a few hours of flatness, a single layer stocking knit scarf is going to revert to curling!)

If you don't want a double layer scarf, use a stitch pattern that has a balance between knits and purls.
Ribbing is one, garter stitch is another –but there are many options besides these two!
Waffle, Flag, basket weave, any stitch dictionary or collection or treasury is going to have dozens of stitch patterns that balance knits and purls and lies flat. And many of these patterns have the virtue of being identical on each side--some are different, but equally attractive.

Once you realize that the curl of stocking knits stitch is the nature of the stitch, it's a quick and easy step to begin to seeing the Curl as a FEATURE. A feature you can work with instead of a flaw that needs to be fought. Soon after that, you'll be thinking about how to make use of this feature!

There are some techniques that USE the very nature of stocking knit to curl-- Some designs and designers that cleverly use the nature of stocking knit to curl to their advantage.

The nature of the stitch hasn't changed. It is just being worked with—good design allows stocking knits nature to curl to work for the design, instead of against it.

Here are some examples of stocking knit stitches nature being used for good --
Amanda Brown's Ruffle scarf-(well, my interpretation of it..)
from Scarf Style.

Look at the lovely curled edges of the ruffle.. Remember stocking knit curls-- See how it accentuates the ruffle, softens it, and gives it depth!

Look at the lovely curled edges on this sweater neck or on the brim of this hat... in both cases the curling nature of stocking knit is USED to soften the edges.

Here is an other example.. the nature of stocking knit to curl created deep ridges, and make the color changes more dramatic.

Stocking Knit Curls—how cool is that?

Monday, October 08, 2007

Fame (a little bit) goes to my head.

Like many people, I am a mass of conflicting ideas.

I like to think I am open and accepting...(and crash head first into prejudices and misconceptions I hold all the time!)
I have to constantly work on ridding myself of prejudices I have acquired over the years.

I like to think I am creative.. (and I am constantly blown away by those more creative than myself, and shamelessly copy their ideas)
I recognize that I am a bit afraid of my own creativity, and self censor.

I like to think I am no longer the scared, insecure waif I once was, (and find my self inordinately thrilled by small accomplishments.)

At my age, I can hardly blame my childhood woes for my current state. Enough time has passed, --and I have enough self awareness to realize, much of my childhood woes were the result of my own thinking. (some were real enough... but)

I was for many years a glass half empty kind of thinker. Nowdays, I sometimes see the glass as half full; more often, as half a glass--neither half empty (negatively) or half full, (positively) but just as half a glass (realisticlly!)

Last time I posted about my 15 minutes of fame.

And since then, I have found further excitement by discovering that 2 people (well, at least 2 people!) have found my blog, and the free patterns I have posted, KNIT them, and –(incredible, unreasonable pride here) posted them in the Ravelry Pattern Library!

You can find examples of the In the Pines Headband, and the Double Delight shawl, knit by others, in the Ravelry. (links to both patterns in Left-hand column)

I can't thank LaniW and Sherilyn enough (and that some have added these patterns to their queue, and marked them as favorite? Astounding!)

LaniW doesn't have a blog, but Sherilyn does. You can see her other projects, (if you are not yet a Ravelry member) here.

I still strive to be like Keat's--

When I have fears that I may cease to be
Before my pen has glean'd my teeming brain,
Before high piled books, in charactry,
Hold like rich garners the full-ripen'd grain;
When I behold, upon the night's starr'd face,
Huge cloudy symbols of a high romance,
And think that I may never live to trace
Their shadows, with the magic hand of chance;
And when I feel, fair creature of an hour,
That I shall never look upon thee more,
Never have relish in the faery power
Of unreflecting love; -- then on the shore
Of the wide world I stand alone, and think
Till Love and Fame to nothingness do sink.

--and let my desire for fame to sink to nothingness, but I am, sometimes, as much of a failure at it as Augustine was--when he prayed for patience.. NOW!

Saturday, October 06, 2007

Gone Long, And on to other things

I'm in Ravelry now a month –and while I've added some projects, and some photo's, I still haven't begun to add stash –and I don't know that I'll ever add anything to my queue.

I often see things that I might want to knit, but like the recent Swirl Sweater, there is often a long gap between seeing and knitting. Way too often, no matter what I think my plans are, I get distracted.

A swatch in a silk fine silk blend (pink swatch in previous post) gets me thinking:
How would that look in a different yarn?
Or in a different color?
Or striped?

Sometimes, the swatch remains a swatch..

But this week, the newest swatch became something else!

The stitch was interesting enough in the scarf... And worked just as nicely in the matching hat.

Now I want to see it in different colors.. Brighter, darker, with the relative color values reversed. How would this stitch look with a solid foreground and color stripes as a background?

I might end up playing with this for a while... and getting a few rows of my socks done in the off hours.
Speaking of socks--I wonder how it would work for socks? The result would certainly be a warm sock!

Finally, getting back to Ravelry, for the moment (i.e., my 15 minutes of fame) the editors have chosen my image of the Phyllotaxis scarf (see it here if you aren't yet part of Ravelry) to illustrate the data base entry on this pattern.

(There isn't a huge selection to chose from-- so far of the current thousands of Ravelry Beta members, there are only 4 who've cataloged this project.)