Saturday, March 31, 2012

An Other Autumnal Color Way

This one is for the new cowl. I love the colors—and it will be interesting to see how it knits up.
I've posted before about some of the techniques I use—here is another technique I use: simple multi pot dying.

--1--Pre-soak the wool. Wool take a long time to get wet—really wet. A pre-soak in cool water is a must for even dyeing. I allow at least 20 minutes, and sometimes longer. This is one part you don't want to rush. For solid tones like these, the soak water is just that water alone. If you pre-soak in acidulated water, the dye takes up unevenly—and you get more of a semi solid effect.

--2--the Dyes. This color way is done with a some TINFIX brand acid dyes I picked up when a local art supply (Pearl) store was going out of business (a few years ago now) . I got a mish-mash of colors—I like all of them but I wish I had a bigger variety—but by the time I learned about the going out of business sale, almost everything had been sold out. These colors are in my collection.. (the bold colors are the ones I used for the featured skein.)
Lemon Yellow (2)
Saffron Yellow (10)
Lacquer Orange (13)
Ruby Red (22)
Tryian Rose (30) 
Indian Violet (43)
Primary Blue (54)
Celadon Green (60)
Brilliant Green (66)
Pouzzoles Brown (84)

I also use food coloring—and I have been very happy with the results. I “follow” the recipes for various colors that are printed on the box. Food colors are easy—but not really cheap—I got a bunch of boxes at a dollar store (that are fast disappearing) —but the local grocery charges 5 times as much! Yowza! I've also used easter egg dye tabs—I've never got the kits for 10¢ as some have—but at 50¢ they still are a good value. I am always on the look out for dyes!

I have once or twice cooked up vegetable matter (onion skins) for home made dye. But, really it takes up too much time and too much material.

--3--The containers. I use disposable food containers. I often re-use them (for dyeing only!) but they sometimes are a single use—The dyes sometimes stain the containers. If I had bigger containers, I could dye more yarn at once.. but then I would need a bigger microwave, or dye pot, and .... (again, a small kitchen, and small scale efforts.)

--4--The process-- This time: Wet, squeeze almost dry. Divide into the dye bath, then into the microwave. Heat and rest, (repeat as needed).

In this case, the divide part was pretty simple. Once--(and just once) with a mini skein, I wound out some yards, tied it off, and repeated to make a long stripe pattern. There are jig that make it possible for home dyers to make self striping and self patterning yarns—but I don't dye enough to make building a jig worth while. 

But dividing a skein into 2 or 3 or even as many as 4 pots? Not that hard.

--5--The down side? It's hard to do more than 1 skein at a time. And it's hard to duplicate. I suppose if I measured out the dye instead of just adding a quantity—till I get a shade I like—I would have a chance at a second skein similar to the first. But I like the free hand results—the one of kind skeins. I am not interested in taking up dyeing yarn as a profession, I just want some interesting unique colors and skeins.

I don't have the room (or the inclination) to buy big dye post, and precision scales, and all the other equipment to go into large scale dyeing. besides, many colors or mordants are poisonous--and really shouldn't be used in a kitchen, but in a separate work area.  I don't want to spend more time (or money, or effort)--and I don't have the space.  So I am a bit of a dilettante about dyeing. It's a fun side line—but I want to spend most of my time knitting.

This—my most recent effort? 3 one quart (take out) containers—and the wool more or less evenly divided into each. The “bridges” between each pot had some plain yellow dribbled on—but the dye will travel up and tint the wet yarn (or you can help it by spooning some up for better coverage)—the technical term for this is osmosis.  Wetting the yarn (I squeeze out the excess water when I divide, and wool I put into the dye bath is wet, but not dripping wet) helps with osmosis.

90% of the effort is passive. Soak the yarn, “cook” the yarn to set the dye(5 minutes in microwave at high power setting). Let it rest. (repeat as needed) Let it cool. Let it dry.

I've had failures—colors that aren't as bright, or are too intense, or that bleed too much (and muddy) or don't bleed enough (and I have white spots) but even the failure are pretty wonderful.

I am happy with these colors—now lets see how they knit up!

Friday, March 30, 2012

Wednesday Night

 As a bit of a distraction, I cast on some stitches for simple cowl. A little something—an almost thoughtless something-to keep me busy for a moment. I had a vague idea.. and cast on a number of stitches (a number I had more or less picked out of the air) I had an idea for a stitch pattern too--one I have used before, (for socks)--but just needed to clarify how to do before I got started.

Well--that little something became a major distraction! It ended up being a beautiful little cowl—though you'll have to wait a day or two to see it—and by then, it will have a partner.

 Already, the pattern for the cowl  is fully documented. That was one of yesterday's distractions. I had made a note or two when I started (I did a stitch count, Thank goodness!) –and I needed to get the details of my process documented before I forgot them. Now the little notes are fully documented pattern. It totally blew me away, that what started out as a free hand knitting worked it to such a perfect little project.

I thought it would be a fun, attractive little project—But it ended up being so much more. First:  It's is a million times prettier than I expected. (What, you want a second with a first like that?  OK)

Well,  for a second, it's quick to knit. But then most single skein projects are, aren't they?
Thirdly, it's not too difficult either. Sure there is a bit of lace, but it's not a hard lace—a very regular one, and just 4 pattern rows. And the lace is just a few stitches of it center front—not the whole cowl. With a single repeat of lace--it's not too hard to get it right.  It's got a lovely shape—and it's full of special details.

Can you see how knitting it would be a distraction? And as a result of this distraction, I went to work on the socks late last night—and look at the result. The part of the pattern work with brown as the main color is fine—but the switch over to white as the main color? A mess!

So this morning's work is to tink the last 2 rounds and get the pattern right—First things first, THE SOCKS--then, back to the little cowl idea.

 Actually, I have already done a bit on the 2nd version of the cowl—just not knitting. I've skeined up some basic white yarn--(Paton's Classic Wool—an older skein that is MERINO) and its already in  a dye bath.

So the cowl gets another go-round! It has too! The first time, it was knit with a single skien of a hand painted yarn—and while the vendor is still dyeing yarn, there is no more of this yarn, and no more of this color way, nor is there likely to be. I don't even know for sure the base yarn—though its not that hard to find something similar. (A number of hand dyers use a very similar base yarn) And any worsted weight yarn that is about 225 to 250 yards/100g is not that hard to find. Knit Picks Wool of the Andes would work, or Cascade 220, or Malabrigo worsted.... There are any number of worsted weights that would be suitable.
But I can't put out a pattern with a single example, worked in an impossible to duplicate hand painted yarn—especial if I don't know the precise base.

So some hand painted Classic Wool for the next example-- I might even do a third version is a simple solid yarn—again something that is readily available.

See what I mean? This little cowl, has become a major distraction! The first skein was a lovely combo of greyish greens and pinks (it was called Briar Rose) The next go cowl will be these bright colors of autumn—brown, golden orange, and crimson—with hints of bright yellow—a fall color way vs. a spring like one. The cowl has some embellishments—which are optional—too. You'll have to wait till tomorrow to see the colors.

I can't wait to get started on it. It's a blessing that I have to wait till the yarn dries, and must work on my socks till then. So I'll tink the few rounds and give it another go. I'll get the pattern right, and the toe knit and finished. I'll finish weaving in all the tails.  Then, having  completed that task, I'll  reward my self by knitting a second version of the cowl.

You'll get to see both of the cowls  on Monday—Promise! The socks? Look for them tomorrow.

Oh—and another good thing—My terrace is finished—Unfortunately, I won't have access till all the other levels are finished, and the scaffolding comes down. But it won't be long now!

Thursday, March 29, 2012

Gusseted and Then Some


 Just a few more rounds— the foot now measures 5 inches. Then, a bit more color work—about 3/4th of an inch, then the colors reverse, and another 3/4th of an inch more, before the toe. I'd rather have the foot portion a bit too long, and have to make the toe shaping shorter (more rapid) to fit than have a sock that is too short.

And then—they are done! Fast work--I might just finish them tonight, or not, but certainly before the end of the week.   Fun work.

I don't always like the fit of stranded color work socks in my shoes—but one by product of losing weight is my feet are smaller too, and some shoes are too loose. A nice thick stranded color work sock will be just the thing to make the shoes fit again. So its a good thing to have a few pairs planned, right?

Though if we continue to have winters as mild as this past winter I won't have need of thick warm socks.

I could have knit more, and started the color patterning last night—but I know that I just don't think as well when I am tired. It's s better to wait and start the patterning early in the day or evening—Then it always works out.

I can't tell you how many times I've tried to rush ahead—only to find my self tinking a round or two because I messed up.

So to keep busy, I cast on for a cowl—Yes, as winter comes to end, (and I haven't worn any of the cowls I knit last winter) I cast on for another cowl. It's a pretty skein—just a single one—of a hand painted yarn. Just the thing for a cowl. It's supersized right now, but  the plan (already evident) is to shape it with decreases --either side of the central leaf motif.  It will  end up wide (and easy to pull down low) at the bottom, and snugger at the top.
The body of the cowl is broad ribs--(6 X 2) and a center front leaf motif. Eventually it will also have a solid pink rose, as the perfect finish.  

Next week (next month!) it will be time to knit the ski cap, and to start yet another pair of socks—but secret socks. They will be the fourth pair of secret socks, and eighth pair of socks I have knit this year.

Even I am slightly amazed at that!

Wednesday, March 28, 2012

Flapped and Turned


And waiting for gussets. That's today's goal. I didn't get much knitting done yesterday—I woke so early, (5 AM) and then once I really got up (7 AM) I just keep going. Not like a mad woman, but busy here and there, and then I sat down for minute at 5 PM and became comatose for 2 and half hours!

So there was a late start to dinner—First I treated myself to some take out wonton soup-- and finished up with some home style “Chinese” food—Stir fried veggies (onion, cabbage and peppers, seasoned with ginger and garlic) and chicken (no rice or starch aside from the wontons). A good dinner--and a change—for a week dinner has been a salad of some sort. Cooked veggies instead of raw ones make a nice change. I get so lazy—and salads have a routine—lettuce (usually romaine) peppers (red, yellow or orange, never green) tomatoes, carrots and broccoli. Most of the time, croutons, too, as the only starch of my dinner meal. A healthy mix of vegetables—about half dark greens and half colorful ones--but it was getting boring.

So today some gussets, and maybe a bit of the foot, or maybe not. Either way, once the gusset is done, I feel like the sock is 90% complete (even if it is only 75%!). It is amazing how some socks drag on for days, and knitting them is a chore—these socks are just the opposite—a delight to knit.

One thing I accomplished yesterday was finding (I had only vaguely been looking) my single skein of glow in the dark yarn. I have some skeins of Lion Brand superwash merino and cashmere blend—and I want to knit my son-in-law(to be) a ski cap—He is in a punk rock band and always performs in a black ski cap—The one I plan to make for him will have his bands logo knit in back in the glow in the dark yarn—Which I think will be pretty cool—well actually pretty warm... But comfortably so. Merino and cashmere are both somewhat warm fibers—but wool is absorbent enough that it feels OK and not clammy the way synthetics can.

I watch yesterday as the first of the glass insert panels for the new railing was raised (the top floor!) and look forward with eagerness to having my railing complete. My terrace won't officially be open till all the panels are installed, and the scaffolding removed. And that can't happen soon enough!

Tuesday, March 27, 2012

Are they socks yet?


No—but soon, very soon! 7 inches of the leg have been knit, in another few rounds, a heel, and then zoom! The second half of the sock is always faster. And besides, there will be an echo of the color work at the toe-a bonus to look forward too.

These socks bring me back to my first love (in knitting)--simple patterning, in 2 colors, in the round.
I first taught myself to do stranded work in 1961—because I LOVED how it looked. And 50 plus years later, I still love it.

I love too, how knitting has so many options. I know knitters who love lace—and knit lace almost to the exclusion of everything else. Other knitters love cables, and work the most intricate sweaters.
Entralac (which does nothing for me) has enamored some knitters—and there are entralac hats, and socks, and sweaters and shawls...

There are so many things to love about knitting, there is something for everyones taste, everyones desire.

These socks are so much better than my first attempt at stranded work. In my first attempt, I was ignorant about repeats (and didn't have the right count) and ignorant about centering and didn't have the pattern centered in front. I didn't care—well, I didn't care enough to rip it out and frog it. And my doll? (I was knitting doll clothes) didn't mind in the least either.

And these fit so much better than my first pair of stranded work socks—which didn't fit at all!
These socks (I've tried them on) are a bit snug going over the heel, (I'll never be able to tuck my toe into the cuff and pull them off with my toe) but I have no problem at all pulling them over the heel—not even this morning--(I woke at 5 AM in such pain I had to get up and take some Aleve—Every bone /joint in my foot was painful and swollen with arthritis)

What a contrary condition. Keeping still hurts more than moving—Once I am up and about, moving the joints, there is frequently less pain than there is at night. I lie in bed aching, but getting up and walking isn't more painful—but less. (A nice hot shower helps too!)

My fingers have some pain, too (and shoulders, and ) but none of this will stop me from doing some more work today. Likely, by this time tomorrow, there will be a flap, a turn and portion of a gusset knit.

Most of the knitting got done last night.. yesterday I made sure to get out and get in a brisk walk—a doublely brisk walk—half the way the wind was pushing me along, the second half, it was fighting me. But it was a glorious sunny day—and it felt perfect for March! The weather has been lovely (I really can't complain)but it was like May, not March--and there is something special about March winds, isn't there?

Plus-- I got a bonus load of wash done—all my summer/canvas shoes. I normal try to get them washed at the end of the season—but I went and got sick back in October, and never got around to it. 

 I have been likened to Imelda Marcos--(not quite as bad, but..) and had 9 pair of shoes for the wash--(some are over 10 years old)--when you have a lot of shoes and sneakers, and rotate them, any single pair might only be worn a dozen times in a summer—and half the wear of the canvas tops  comes from the agitation of washing them! So they last—usually. I am always disappointed when they don't. And I end up with a full range of colors, too! It's still early in the season—and some of the shoes don't fit with socks—so they are super summer time wear—but its nice to be ready for summer.

Now—back to knitting.

Monday, March 26, 2012

Whoo-eee!


The mini Mini Mania is still unfinished—It needs 2 rows and a bind off. It languishes.

But Kate and Alice socks? They are what is generating today's whoops and hollers. I love them. Even the slightly too big hem—I love everything about them.

Look what's happened since Saturday (OK in reality, since Friday night—Saturday's image was from early in the AM. )--2 and half inches of pattern work. 

Lovely! I am loving every stitch. Can you see? The last row few rounds? worked in  solid brown and the last round is the beginning of the  mirror imaged patterning. The white(mc)/brown (cc) patterned  portion is 2.5 inches (well almost) —with the same pattern work mirrored in brown as the main color, will be almost 5 inches or  patterned work--or most of the leg of the sock.   There will another inch or maybe a bit more than an inch of the solid brown before the heel gets started.

And, speaking of  the brown! 

Let me tell you about the brown. Its amazing how some colors in the skein look nice, but are, just, well flat. They have color, but... well lots of yarn have colors. I am loving this brown. It's just such a warm color. It is beautiful—and truthfully brown just usually doesn't make my top ten list of favorite colors. I liked it when I used it to knit the Italian Ice socks—but with the white, I am just loving it.

So today I will work some more on the sock—and again tomorrow. And in no time (and no effort—since they are a delight to knit!) I'll have another pair of socks done.

Saturday, March 24, 2012

Not Quite a Fail


But not as I envisioned. The double knit hem with double count of stitches is loose. Very loose.

But amazingly, when I pull it onto my leg, it's not bad at all. I just need to pull it up a half inch or so higher than my average sock.

So, I have 2 inches of plain white already, (already a half inch more than planned) plus  I am going to add an extra round or two of pattern work to make the leg of the sock longer. 

 I have also re-positioned the stitches on the needle—because I didn't first join into a round and then work the half dozen rounds of double knitting. I left the hem straight and worked a half dozen rows of double knitting and I have gap. The original plan was to sew the gap—but I like it. I might thread a bit of I-cord through the hem, and have a small drawstring (or maybe not an I-Cord, maybe just a twisted cord ) with a small tassel.

And since I want the cord and tassel at the center back--(or do I want it center front? A moments thought--NO, back it is) I've repositioned the stitches to be set up with the Beginning of the Round centered on Needle 1. Needle 1 is my default back/sole (heel) side of a sock.

Normally when I knit a pair of socks the BoR is on a side edge. And normally it doesn't really matter. But in this case, with this pair of socks, it does. Repositioning stitches with 2 socks on 2 circs is a bit of pain. But it's done.

Mini Mini Mania isn't—done, that is. But as plnc pointed out in her comment, on Thursday post, yes, a random stripe of left over sock yarns could be used as a cuff to a plain solid socks--and make a pair of plain blue or plain grey sock more interesting. The same could be used as a cuff to a pair of spiral knit socks-- first incorporating some of the planned or available colors.  For that matter, a PLANNED set of stripes could be used.

I almost always have some left over sock yarn—depending on the skein and yardage, from a few yards to almost a full 10g's! (per skein!) So knowing that 40g's makes A sock, (and 80g's makes a pair) I save my left overs and combined them to make “free” socks. When there isn't enough left over yarn for a pair of free socks, there is still often, enough for a bit of fancy work at the cuff or top of the sock.

Some  scraps become contrasting heels Flapped, Turned, Gussets style heels—the help minimize the disruption this style heel causes in a self striping pattern. My sock collections is filled with socks that have custom (real vs printed) stripes, or contrasting heels, or color work embellishment.

The scraps feed my creative urges.

This year, I'll add to my scrap collection in a big way. These socks--Kate & Alice socks-- are starting out with 2 full 100g skeins—each divided. (4 small cakes of yarn) and even if I make the legs slightly taller, when finished, I will have over 100g's of yarn—More white than brown, but still almost half a skein of the brown.

And latter this year, will be Black Eyed Susy socks—with my hand painted black eyed susy color way, and a semi solid green—again 2 100g balls to start, so very likely, 100 g's (or more!) of “left overs”. The 3rd pair of color work socks won't start out with 2 100g balls.  They have 2 50g balls as a base, a single 50g ball for the fractal dragon color work. But there still will be left overs!

Add to this, my collection of single--(50g balls)--well you see the problem—It's like the miracle of the loaves and fishes. Every time I USE sock yarn to knit up a pair of socks, I ADD sock yarn to my left over collection—and find my self challenged to think of new ways to use the scrap yarn up!

There is the possibility of mitered square blanket sometime in the future--I like the idea and I have the yarn. 

Friday, March 23, 2012

Nothing—I've Got Nothing.


Well nothing of dirty laundry (its all washed and dried)
And nothing of clean laundry either (its all folded and put away!)

Nothing finished (Mini Mini Mania still not finished).
Nothing started—in spite of the pressing urge, I haven't cast on for my Kate & Alice socks.

And its an other beautiful day—and I might not get anything done today either.. Except to enjoy the sun shine!

Thursday, March 22, 2012

Mini Mini-- Meah


is just about done. I am bored with it.

What I want to do, what I am itching to do, is to start my Kate and Alice socks.

And I am going to! I plan to bind off the Mini Mini today—And I will skein up the silk for a second larger Mini Mania—that is a more planned/organized scarf. But that can wait a bit.

I might yet knit another Mini Mania—but not a totally random one—another planned one. I'll organize some of my sock yarn left overs, and when I have a pleasing mix, I'll go to work. I have at least 1 skein of a beautiful blue yarn that will be the basis of a planned mini mania—a single skein in a beautiful blue--(from where? I haven't a clue!) But, this scarf can wait too.

But if January's socks can extend into February(as they did) then there is no reason why April's socks have to wait another week and half and the beginning of April (proper) to be started.

I fell asleep last night planning the details of the sock—first the cast on—which will be Judy's magic cast on, that works into a double knit cuff. I like the look of a cuff—but I hate doing a provisional cast on, and then making a knit in place hem for cuff on a sock--it's way to fussy.

So my solution is to cast on 128 (64 stitches per needle), join into a round, and double knit for a few rounds--I am thinking 6 rounds. Then I can do a round of K2tog's to create a knit in place hem.

The major disadvantage to this process: keeping tension even on the purl stitches. The solution? I'll turn the work inside out as finish the hem. Then the inside hem will be made of the previously knit (at a slightly tighter tension) knit stitches, and the public side of the work will be the previously purled stitches (which, if history is any indication) will be ever so slightly looser tension. This will be the perfect solution! I'll continue to work “inside out” (knitting every stitch, but working with the sock inside out) –as this is a good process for doing color work.

After the hem, an inch or so in plain stocking knit before the color work begins. Then, about an 2 inches of brown and white patterning where white is main color, then a reversal and another 2 inches of work with brown is the main color. This sounds about right: Hem (half inch) plain, (1 inch) first half of pattern work, (2 inches) second half of pattern work, (2 inches), plain, (1 inch) works out to 6.5 inches of the leg. An extra round or two in each part—making them just a scant bit over an inch or two will add another inch and bring the work to 7.5 inches before I start the heel—and that is just about the length I like for sock!

It should be obvious by now—I am, slight more usual, obsessed with the idea of knitting these socks!

Tuesday, March 20, 2012

A Mini Mini


This Mini Mania Scarf is going to be a mini one. Short, (just 45 inches or so) and narrow. Its already almost 4 inches wide, and will be done in a few more rows.

But I like it.. I think I need to sort through my left over yarn—or better yet, sort through some of my collection of silk that I have been collection for a scarf/shawl and make a bigger one—with some advanced color planning.

It took me a while to get into the rhythm of linen stitch—it always does—but now I am on a roll. The front looks like woven fabric, and the back—totally different—but quite pretty, in its own right.

Theses silks—some purchased, some inherited, some gifts..all sort of work together well.. and have been waiting for the right project. I think Mini Mania is it.

Linen is a firm, not to stretchy stitch—and silk NEEDS a firm stitch (or it stretches out of shape in a heart beat). I think rows—4 say of each color, and the stripes repeated until I run out of yarn (it won't take long—each skein is just 50g's and 125 meter) would be very pretty.

And then the real work starts. Every since my daughter announce her wedding date –October 13—and that the wedding would be out of doors (weather permitting—which means—anything short of  a raging hurricane-- if I know my daughter!)I have been thinking “she'll need a shawl”--and last night she more or less said exactly that “I'm going to need something to wear with my dress” . She hasn't yet embraced the idea of a shawl—I might end up knitting a shrug or a jacket—but Something is needed!

I have the wool (not balled up—just a giant skein) in a lovely white merino(2 skeins, actually each is 8 oz of cobweb weight yarn) —I don't know that she wants a white shawl.. but I've had some practice at dyeing wool.

Maybe the silk will end up being for me.. (I still don't have a dress—and have only given small thought to what kind of dress I will want!) but this silk has a lot of colors—and besides, it doesn't have to be a perfect match to dress. Silk shawls, by their nature, go with almost anything!

Good Police Work


Is not just about catching miscreants, it's all about being aware, and thinking.

And it is thanks to good police work, my cousin, Billy, is on his way to a full recovery.

On Friday, the 16th, an off duty police office noticed a piece of mangled bike on the side of the highway/main road. The office stopped, made a U turn to check it out, and found my critically injured cousin crawling out of ditch. He had several broken bones, (we are, as a family, stubborn, pig headed and strong lot. This can be a failing; but put us to the test, run us down, break our bones, and we crawl out of the ditch and keep going!) and a cracked helmet-(but an intact head!).

In addition to the mangled bike on the road, there was more bike in the ditch, and there was also part of car's bumper, too.

First things first, the officer assisted my cousin, and called for an ambulance. Later a “Be on the Lookout” was issued for a car missing parts—the car (and driver) were found. (but that another story about good police work.)

I know, every day, police officers everywhere, are doing good police work. But Today, a special shout out of thank to the Ann Arbor Michigan ones.

My son is a cyclist, too, and while he is off pedaling in California, when I drive, I treat every cyclist I encounter (here in NY) as if he were MY SON. For certain, every cyclist is someones son, some ones daughter, some ones father, someones mother. Good police work can only do so much. Here is a small reminder to respect the rights of cyclist on the road.


Monday, March 19, 2012

Mini Mania It Is


 I mean, really, I HAVE to! I have so much left over sock yarn—and while yes, I do plan to make (another!) pair of spiral knit sock out of some of the yarn, I still have tons and tons of the stuff.

I brought a small bag of left overs--image below--this bag is about the size of mid size purse/pocketbook-- with me yesterday to Knitting at Panera's—and got a few rows-- Not even an inch yet--knit.

My they are LONG rows! How long? Well I am working on a large-ish needle (for sock yarn) a size 5/3.75m—I have 250 stitches.. I am getting a gauge of 20 stitches per 4 inches— so a 45 or so inch long scarf. The pattern suggests more stitches(350), and a tighter gauge, but also has a longer scarf. I am not working from the pattern proper—I am just winging it. A sideways knit scarf, done in scraps of yarn, in a linen stitch—a basic pattern/recipe.   Here is detail, and a bigger image of all the stitches scrunched up on the needle.





Jessica, (a newish knitter) was amazed at all the yarn-(what!?)--when she saw this little bag.

Nancy played the heavy as asked “Just how much sock yarn is there in your stash?”—and well truth be told, I have two “suitcases” full.

 I have 2 clear plastic suitcases—the kind they use to pack in “a bed in bag” (a set of sheets, pillow cases, shams and a comforter) of JUST SOCK YARN. One is Solid colors (the slightly smaller suitcase), the other is Patterned (stripes, tweeds, etc). There are hundreds of brands of yarn, and every color of the rainbow, but some brands do predominate. (Both suitcases have several sachets of lavender and other herbs to keep moths and other critters at bay) 

(And these bags of left over partial balls? They don't count!--even though the zip lock alone represent about about 700 grams (1.75 pounds!) of yarn, and the purse, half as much again.)

And that's just sock yarn. Jessica was, well, shocked! She was sure I was kidding. (I am not.)

What's more, just about none of it was purchased at full price. Every skein, on sale, or remained, or bought with a discount coupon, or garage sale purchase, or a swap.  There are even a few skeins that I have inherited.  

The oldest?  Are still a few skeins of Lion Brand Magic Stripes (I snagged 20 skeins more than half a dozen years ago, when they were in a clearance bin marked down to $0.50 a skein) Some day, some of my socks knit with magic stripes will wear out--(I have a pair of socks in each and every color way that they made, and double in some)—and then I will have sock yarn to make a new pair. I also traded some of the LB skeins for other yarn.

I still have some skeins of Calzetteria (Cervina) sock yarn—really lovely stuff---from a super sale at Smiley's—Expensive stuff —compared to the Lion Brand—a whopping $2 a skein ($4 per pair of socks, because the skeins are just 50gm ones).

I have a bunch of Kroy—as colors/styles  go out, and they reach the clearance bin, I snap them up. I've made more than one pair of socks out of 2 (some ever so slightly, and some very clearly) different lots. No one really notices the different dye lots when I wear the socks, though its sometimes noticeable when I photograph them. I've paid as little as 50¢ and as much as $3 for each skein of the Kroy--(2 are needed for a pair).

Some of the Kroy was purchased with bonus coupons—Those rare 50% ones—and a half dozen visits to big box store(s). The coupons limit is: one coupon, per person, per day, per store—I am lucky enough to have several stores with in reasonable driving distance... Which means I can easily make a round to 3 or 4 stores, 2 or 3 times with the sale period. This same process is used for Lion Brand Sock Ease—and some were bought (at a lovely generous discount) at the Lion Brand Studio Store –at one of their functions. (Not a 50% discount, but a good value all the same) but the rest on a coupon sale. It's a wonderful advantage that the Sock Ease comes in 100g balls—1 ball=1 pair of socks—and matching dye lots is never an issue.

I have been paid in sock yarn, too. Friends who have needed help, with some project or technique, have gifted me balls of yarn as a thank you. (I love it!)

This morning I unearthed the big bag (this is a 2.5 gallon zip lock bag)of other left overs—I have, easily,  enough left over sock yarn for a Mini Mania scarf (for several Mini Mania Scarves!) and for several other projects. Like (another pair of ) spiral knit socks made from left over sock yarn –FREE-BE's socks! (I've given both of the previous pairs of spiral knit socks that I've knit way) Or another pair of socks like Italian Ices –that I knit last summer--Those socks were  knit entirely from  yarn left over from other socks.

And there are more partial balls that haven't made their way into either of these collections--yet. 

A few years ago, I wrote a post on 101things to do with left over sock yarn. Mini Mania (that is, the idea for a scarf like this) wasn't on the list.. (which was clearly incomplete!)

My Mini Mania is not entirely random—I started with a dark grey, and then have moved onto a lighter grey, now pastel mix with a percentage of grey,but less than 50%. Next more mixed color with no grey, after that more bright colors. Then I will reverse and move back to mixed greys , and mostly greys as I end it.

If I like it, (or if I don't like it)—I have enough left over yarn to try again—with a more random mix, or more solid or semi solid colors, or...



Saturday, March 17, 2012

Yarn Gone,


Stitches too! Tassels made and sewn on. Ends woven in. Finished and Done!
It coulda-- it shoulda-- been a bit longer.

 But it's fine all the same (I suspect it will stretch out, as garter stitch does, with wearing.) It could be softer too, but a proper wash will help. I know all my socks get softer with a wear and a wash.  This scarf might get treated to a wash in SOAK, to help soften it up, and be blocked out a bit as it dries to make it a bit bigger.

Secret sock got done, too. But not finished. A few ends to weave in and other details, before they are all done.

And NOTHING else got started, not socks, not a scarf, not a hat, NOTHING. I think today might be the day to finish up my grey leafy vest (it still needs to be blocked!) and to sew. And, all the while, think about what I am going to be knitting next. I might even consult my list! There's an idea.

In addition, I might get some skeins (100g ones)of sock yarn into 2 neat 50g cakes. Starting with the left over Lion Brand Yellow (lemon drop) sock yarn.

It's also laundry day—and I am about to start doing laundry--first!

And its a beautiful day—so I need to get out and take a walk. Good exersize for a beautiful day. I'll take my camera and maybe find special little flower to photograph.

Lastly, its St Patrick day. Happy St Patrick's day.

Friday, March 16, 2012

I Ran Out of Energy


Before I ran out of yarn—but it was close! Skein 1 is about to bite the dust.. and it will be closely followed by the entire scarf being finished. And then what?

(Note: Many of the links in this post are to Ravelry projects—some might not be visible if you aren't on Ravelry yet--(and why the hell aren't you?!)

I don't really want to knit another scarf—I don't need another scarf. I have a list of things to knit—vests and hats and other stuff. But I am thinking about scarf ideas. Some-- of my own design—but more about others—like this scarf-- Goodness knows I have the yarn—I have tons of left over sock yarn! And I love linen stitch, and....

Then again,  this scarf—calls to me. I love every scarf in the book Knitting New Scarves—and this idea for textural double knitting is just wonderful! Wouldn't it be wonderful in a long slow color change yarn? Undulating color and texture!

Then there is Stephen West's spiral scarf—I have made a scarf like this.. and I like his interpretation even better--(but I really don't have the right yarn) but... It still appeals to me. 

Better still, is this Lucy Neatby's scarf –a lattice knit.. or (why can't I find it?) —a spiral knit lattice—more of a cowl than a scarf--A really that is a lovely marriage of Lucy Neatby's scarf and Stephen Wests! Do you know the one I mean? (do you have a link?)

Finally—Instead of speculating about what is too be--a report on what is:  The secret socks are almost done! 6 inches of leg knit, and skeins of yarn that are looking very anemic—I tend to like deep cuffs (inch and half of ribbing!) and I likely have enough for that much ribbing—and not a lot more.

Meanwhile, there is the racket being made by skeins and skeins of sock yarn! Oh dear! Can I ignore them for 2 weeks? Or will I be overwhelmed? I think I need to hide myself in the back room with my sewing machine and sew! To finish up the skirt I am altering, and to get sewing some new stuff!

And saving the best for last—finally another pound has melted away. I hope a bunch more go the same way soon! I was so tired of not losing any weight for weeks and weeks!

Besides, yesterday, as I walked to the subway, I saw a lovely slinky dress –in lovely fuchsia color—which wouldn't be the exact color I want—but I love how it looked. Simple—princess seams, in a lovely silk crepe—almost nothing in terms of style, but a style that really needs a long smooth body (not a fat lumpy one!) I haven't really thought about what to wear for the wedding in October—but seeing this dress gave me ideas!

Later –in the summer, I will make some simple dresses as try outs for style—I don't think I will end up making my dress.. but I am so unsure about what I want.. My daughter has left it open—Jewel/peacock colors are her theme—and I love these shades—but style? I need to start thinking!

Thursday, March 15, 2012

Beware the Ides of March


Sound advice, if your name is Caesar-- But it doesn't much matter to me!

Look—inches more added to the yellow scarf. The stitch count per row is shrinking and shrinking—enough so I notice how much faster I can knit a row now. I have a thing to do this afternoon—it will afford me lots of knitting time. By tomorrow another noticeable chunk of the scarf should be done.

The secret socks (pair 3) has been less cooperative. No matter how many rounds I knit, they refuse to move beyond 5 inches of leg. I need at least 6 inches before I start the cuff. Obviously, it will take an eternity of knitting to reach 6 inches.

And while I haven't planted any seeds—Yet--I made a neat pile of sock yarns.   A bunch of 100 g skeins have all divided and caked up—none of it for immediate use—just made ready for when ever.

I prefer to work with 2 50 skeins of yarn—but they do have the disadvantage of not always being set up to have matching stripes.. and sometimes, its takes yards and yards to find matching stripe patterns.

The advantage of dividing a 100g ball, is: it's easy to make sure each little cake of yarn starts at the same place. This means, sometimes, that one cake weighs 47g, and another 52 g—but since I rarely uses all the yarn anyway—a gram or two, here or there doesn't make any difference.
 
I still have MORE 100 gram skeins in my stash—so dividing up skeins is not done—but clearly—I have made some progress!  The second skein of the Lion Brand Sock Ease in Lemon Drop yellow, for 1, and the skein of the blue (that I call Prussian, and they call sno-cone)for another.  

I also took another 100g skein of white sock yarn and made it into a hank--I haven't decided what color it will be.. maybe some soft pastel shaded of blue and taupe and grey  (some of my fabric is stripes of these colors) or maybe something bright and intense--a hot pink or an electric blue--I don't have any clothes in these colors, but....I also don't have any socks in these colors either!

Wednesday, March 14, 2012

It's All Down Hill


from here. Past the mid point, made a free hand, short row, medallion to turn the corner and I have started the decreases. The first half is just short of 20 inches.. so the final scarf will be about 38 inches along the straight edge. A nice size.

From here on—every row is shorter, and shorter, and each inch faster to work, and soon it will be a scarf. I will need (if the scale is right) about 10gms of the second skein—but that's well under being a problem. I ALWAYS have left over sock yarn—and will have no trouble completing a pair of socks with 90gm. Especially if I add a round or two of solid green stripes at the cuff and at the toe. Or better yet, a round or two of patterned color work using the green.

I have also decided--the tassels I plan for the tips of the scarf—are going to be made from the solid green—the Lion Brand green apple color way that is a perfect “go with” color for some of the darker green stripes in the yellow color way. Then the scarf will be a natural go with yellow and green matching socks. The green yarn is already divided and packed up in sock kit bag—it's not next (to be socks) but soon. It will be easy to pull off some yarn for 2 small tassels.

The secret socks still aren't done (and haven't had a stitch worked on them)

The pink and black skirt I am altering.. still not finished.

But several 100 g skeins of sock yarn have been divide up into 50 g cakes---with more to come, since I haven't done the 4 newest balls of sock yarn, or the prussian blue (Lion Brand calls it sno cone)with beads --which is on my list of socks for this year.  In spite of the fact that is mid month, and I haven't finished the secret sock yet, I am still sock obsessed. I want to start the next pair as soon as finish the scarf—so what if it is not April!

And with all these projects not finished, I went and bought a small tray to start my seed with. 1 to start—but there might be a second. 36 little peat pellets to soak in warm water, and 36 little opportunities to start—Basil, parsley (2 kinds of each) some new chives, sage, oregeno and cilantro. A nice selection for the kitchen window planter. I think I will need a second little kit to start some summer flowers—Not that there seems to be any progress made on the terrace. I know, I know, they are working on 3 buildings, (and each building has 3 sides with terraces, and each building has 15 floors)—And a ton of work can be going on, and NONE OF IT on my terrace!

But the weather has been so lovely, I want to open the terrace door and let in the fresh air. I want the scaffolding down, and all the sun light to pour in. I want all the terrace chairs and tables and planters back out on the terrace—and out of my living room. I want to sit out side and sip my morning coffee and enjoy the view. I want to watch seeds bud and grow, and to have a riot of flowers. All the simple things! Its not too much to ask, is it?

Tuesday, March 13, 2012

The Count Down--


Still has a way to go-- 40 more posts before I hit the magic number (100,000) –I've done a calendar count—and 5 post a week isn't going to work out.. but 6 posts a week—is slightly too many.

So some days, 1 post, and once in a while 2 post with in a day, Or 1 post on week days, and every other week or so, a bonus post on the weekend.

I'll announce the details of my blog contest some time in mid April—About 2 weeks (and 10 posts) before the big day. The winners (and I am the real winner in any blog contest!) will be announce in May -on the same day as the 100,000 post. 

Progress is being made on the yellow scarf—Last night (by bed time) the skein of yarn weighed 60 grams—and the length was 16 inches—10 more grams of work, then the medallion. After that, I'll start the decreases for second half. As part of the finishing, two tassels will be made and added to the front points. Not a lot over the basic 100 gms—but a little bit of a bonus.

Since then, a few more rows got added today as I waited for my appointment (and on the subway, too and fro) I reached the half way point... and now it get easier—every row is shorter! (photo tomorrow)

Secret sock caught a few rounds, too. 

My appointment went well—I got there at 8:00AM for an 8:20 appointment—I was leaving by 9:30—Not bad. Unfortunately—I got to the subway, paid my fare and found the system shut down—In both directions. I spoke with an MTA employee—the expected Queens bound traffic to open up soon—and less than 15 minutes later, we were on our way. Manhattan bound passengers had a longer delay, and re-routing, with some lines and stations closed.   

Monday, March 12, 2012

SInfull


Positively Sinfull. But how could I resist? Look at these lovely skeins—The Opel tiger stripe yarn is missing a label—but I am sure about it --there was one with a label—it was more expensive.  I was perfectly willing to forgo a label for an even better bargain.

This lovely haul--(all that I bought) set me back $20—A wonderful collection of exciting yarns for $5  for a pair of socks.  Cheaper than Kroy, or Red Heart,  even with the best of sales. While the color ways are old—Do fun self striping yarns like tiger ever get old? I don't think so!

I still didn't get the solid color ways of Kroy that I want. I am going to be very frugal for the next few weeks to justify spending even more money on yet MORE sock yarn.

I belong to a Ravelry group called solid socks—Even though, I so rarely do solid socks. Still I end up looking at all the completed projects and pattern ideas, and think—Oh, I like that! or—Wow, why didn't I think of doing a pattern like that?

Self striping sock yarns are definitely fun—And I really enjoy knitting socks with them. But solid socks—which at first seem simpler, and less interesting,  are a wonderful base for fancy stitch work.

I might at some point grow tired of knitting socks. But I doubt it. They serve my need for process knitting—and have the bonus of being production knitting as well.

These yarns were bought Saturday evening—and what an evening it was.

Last week when I went to the Garage Sale—I was in and out (door to door) in under  2 hours—and I stopped off at another store to pick up some hardware for a home repair project in addition to the yarn sale.

Saturday? It was an outing. Nancy hoofed (OK, she took the bus) to my house. We drove a few blocks to pick up Debbie, and the 3 of us went off  together.

All of us are tight budgets—and we all carefully considered our purchases. (We all spent about $20)--Still I found what I wanted in 10 minutes or so.

Nancy—a relatively new knitter stocked up on needles and notions (and a bit of yarn, too) She took a bit longer, but still came to a decision pretty quick.  Debbie was like a kid in a candy store—she wanted EVERYTHING and flitted about, looking at this, looking at that, pondering this, pondering that—until she finally settled on 4 skeins of sock yarn—after an HOUR of looking at everything.

Then—the adventure continued.   Nancy has lived in Queens for years—and drives—but she's never owned a car in NY. So, since we were all ready in the car, I took her on a tour of one of the prettiest parts of Queen's—Shore Drive in Douglaston—It is breathtakingly pretty—anytime—but there is a special magic to it at night –when all the light reflect on the water.

Debbie—still in her childlike glee wanted to indulge—and we stopped in White Castle (the one on Northern Blvd at Bell Blvd.) I never much ate at White Castle—I don't have memories of fun times--(or of belly aches). I had 1 (yes, just 1) double burger--Plus,  Debbie and I shared an order of sweet potato fries, and fried clams. (And a number of belly bombers were sunk--but not by me). We giggled like school girls. And we entertained (and were entertained by) the teens (and the drunk) hanging out there.

What with the side trip to Douglaston, and the stop at White Castle—it was near midnight by the time I got home! I was exhausted! Not a good start to daylight savings time.

Then, yesterday, (Sunday knitting at the Rego Park Panera's) we entertained Jessica with a recount of all the adventures. She had a prior commitment on Saturday and missed out. So to make her feel better (and to make ME feel better) I gave her some of my stash yarn—2 lovely skeins of Tahki/Stacy Charles wool in a mostly brown blend. 

 It's not quite equity (4 skeins of yarn came into my house, and only 2 went out)but it's better than the alternative (4 balls of yarn  came in and NONE went out!)

Jessica is also a new(ish) knitter—but she is a natural. She's knitting a scarf (brown) —one of her own design and has just learned to do a simple lace (and is thrilled with it!) We talked about another outing—and every one but me is excited about Stitch & Pitch—(This year on June 3rd/Citifield-Mets stadium). I am not much of sport fan, and less of Met's fan (It's the Yankee's for me!) and even the company of lots of other knitters can't make baseball exciting. 

Debbie (all of us, really) had great fun dividing some of 100 g skeins of sock yarn into 2 cakes (using my ball winder) for knitting 2 socks at time. There is something mesmerizing about winding up yarn, isn't there? It's no wonder I turn to making hanks or skeins of yarn into cakes when ever I lose my knitting mojo.

A bit of progress was made on both the scarf (a inch more perhaps) and the secret socks (another 2 inches of leg)—but that just brings the leg up to 4 inches (of 7) so there still is a ways to go. It's a good design—especially for a beginner, but a bit ho hum for my taste.

The yarn is pretty—but subtle, the pattern mostly stocking knit. Easy to knit—nothing challenging--but slightly boring at the same time. I like a challenge—It's actually hard for me to keep it simple.

I have a doctors appointment tomorrow (and may or may not get a post made)--If thing run slow I'll get a lot of knitting done—if they run on schedule, I'll have time to  post (but won't have made too much progress. The appointment is nothing much—just a base line mammogram. And I don't expect anything but a normal report. I regularly do self exams—and there isn't much history of breast problems in the family.  

Took a Break--


Edit—This post is from Saturday—and never got posted.

To enjoy the glorious spring weather. I wonder how real spring will be—what with having such a mild winter? We've had some really cold springs in recent years—some days in May that were 47°--(8°c.)--more like winter!

I got a few round done on secret sock, and I got this scarf started. This was what I was going for when the blue-violet yarn jumped into my hand.

It's a basic, simple garter stitch scarf—with a bit of an edging. The edging isn't exactly what I envisioned, but it a free hand design—and it works. I like the ridged stripe effect. When I get to the midway point, there will be a small medallion to transition to the decrease. The medallion will make it just that much fancier.

It will use slightly over 1 skein—because, I KNOW, I always have left over yarn yarn when I knit socks, and I can 'steal' some from the skein destined to be socks. I'll knit till I have used up half the skein, (by weight) and then add a few more rows.

I also have Lion Brand Sock Ease in the apple green--all ready divided into 2 half skeins, to make a pair of lace (leaf motif) socks. If I run short when making the yellow socks, I can always cheat and finish them with socks with a solid green toe—I might even plan ahead, and add a narrow stripe or two of the solid green in the cuff of the yellow socks as I knit them. It will make an interesting detail, and make a solid green toe look planned. If I end up not needed the green, I can always just add a stripe or two of green just before starting the toe—just—well, because!

The green skeins are already in the line up of my own sock club--(divided, packed into a project bag, a lace pattern picked out)--the yellow socks won't be knit till much later in the year—or maybe even next year.

This little scarf (I wouldn't every call it a shawl) will match several  things I own. I already have some yellow tops, and some skirts with yellow trim—and a yellow sun visor for the summer. And I am thinking about buying a piece of bright yellow cloth—Right now, I am hemming and hawing. Do I want it for clothing? I love yellow, but I find it soils even faster than white!

Still—It's a 60 inch wide twill at $2 a yard, and I think I MUST. For just a few bucks, enough for a skirt. For a few more bucks, enough for a skirt and a jumper. A whopping $10 would buy enough fabric for a set—a jumper, a skirt, and a  jacket... a wardrobe of clothing! Well, maybeI'll buy  just enough for a skirt.
Of course, I shouldn't buy any more fabric till I sew up what I have. And maybe, I shouldn't be thinking about making skirts. They require too much effort to alter--but I am thinking about wrap around skirts!

Something super simple, made with just 1 main pattern piece—doubled. With a center front seam, and pockets that are set in (similar to bound button holes.) At first, the  pockets would bit forward of the “side seam position”,  as I loose more weight, they will move back-towards a side seam position. I might eventually need to alter a wrap around skirt, but with a simply designed skirt, that has just 1 center seam (and the waist band) there would only be 1 seam to undo to alter.

Then again, I think I should stick to jumpers. I took one in last week... and have added darts (long front and back ones) to another jumper so it's not so baggy and shapeless. Another jumper is just about ready to be taken in, too. And I have altered some other skirts--(straight ones) so I have some smaller clothing—including a lovely olive green silk skirt –the yellow scarf will look great with the olive skirt and matching tank top. A bit dressy—but not too fancy for every day. A black and pink print skirts will be done(completely altered) later today. 

I need another jumper pattern—one that is more like a shirt dress.. with buttons or snaps, or maybe even a zipper closure down the front—to add some variety.

And more than anything, I just need to get cutting and sewing! 

Wednesday, March 07, 2012

Vaginas, (and other body parts) and Politics.


I don't much do politics on this blog.
I don't much do sex on the inter net either.
But I have a checkered past—I have, in days past, actively supported an on line porn site--(a long story for some other day)—it was more about 1st amendment rights than an interest in porn.

But lately it's hard to avoid both subjects—especially when it seems so much of what passes for political discourse is all about vaginas and uteruses. I used to have a local representative that was interested in both—in a totally different way –he lost his job because of it (My local congress person was Weiner). My current congress person has, like too many of his republican brethren, a totally different interest.

It is distressing when feminism—or the idea that women should be accorded equal rights is equated with fascism. Really! feminazi's? Real fascism is equating responsible behavior (ie, using birth control) with degradation. Defining a responsible, articulate woman as a girl, a co-ed, a slut and whore? That is fascist.

But that been hashed out in the new in all so many negative ways. Nothing more to be said.

But what has become clear, is to many senators and members of congress are suffering a sever case of vagina envy and/or vagina fear One solution? Make sure they have one of their own to play with—and encourage them to keep their hands (and legislation) off yours.

This story is about how you can help do that. —It's such a great story.. It needs more exposure.. Join in and share this link- and join the Ravelry group, too.

Naturally—this answers the rhetorical question I asked in the previous post: What should I knit next? Obviously a cervix or two, along with my secret socks.

And please note—I have a vested interest here—Aside from the most obvious one (ie, I have  a vagina!) Sonya Philip's— is my DIL.

Visit her blog (s) , too, to learn more about this talented fiber artist..
Of course, she's on Ravelry!--as Sonya Philip--where there is a group dedicated to this project—(naturally--there is a group for everything on Ravelry!) —and don't forget to check out her face book page

Speaking of body parts—mine are working better (or so most of the test say)—a good part of yesterdays business involved doctors appointments. Not perfectly, but better. I still have a good half dozen more appointments for more detailed examination of a whole bunch of my parts, (inside (colonoscopy) and outside (a small spot on my skin) but so far, good. 

The scale is working better, too, and it's learned, once again, to display new and different numbers. Finally, I am losing weight again! The doctors scale claimed I lost 2 pound, my home scale, just 1, but any number that is smaller is better than one that remains the same. 

Socks and Such

Busy day yesterday... Violet Blue Multi socks—Done (knit and finished!)

 They are slightly longer than my average sock--which when folded at the heel, has a foot about the same length as leg (these are about 1 inch taller)
The toe is pointed, and the heel turning is also a pointed "handkerchief" one, too.


The ridged ribs make it a nice snug sock--that looks good on LEGS and on my legs, too.

 Secret socks took up most of Monday—they now have heels (a pair of heels) and then some.

Knitting (but totally non blogging!) friends got to see them tonight at Tuesday knitting at Maducatis—All 3 secret socks—and one friend said—Oh I want to make these.. I love this pattern, and another said the same about another pair--(a good pattern for first time sock knitters) and everyone loved (but no one claimed) the third pair. I guess I am on to something—some of my ideas are right on target!

Kimberly loved the Violet Blue socks—she (long, long ago, in pre-Ravelry days) knit a pair of gloves with the same yarn.. Very unsuccessful gloves. Not quite a pair (that is, not quite matching)--but 2 gloves that bore some strange relationship to each other.

I reminder her about my first pair of socks (many, many years ago!) They were argyles. Beautiful argyles. Mostly white, with blue and dark maroon red diamonds. They perfectly match a plaid skirt and my (oh, so popular then) “tennis sweater”. The workmanship was perfect. The socks? Stiff and with out a trace of ease or stretch. The legs were so tight, they wouldn't have fit Olive Oyl's match-stick legs –and she would have never gotten even her big toe into the opening! No human could wear these socks.

The Best part? I knit them on DPN's, one sock at a time. The first one I knit was a fit failure, and the second sock, IDENTICAL. NEITHER sock was wearable. A perfect pair—NOT. They looked lovely, but they weren't functioning socks.

It's easy to look at my socks today, and marvel at my knitting skill—but what you don't see are the failures. And there have been failures! Socks that were siblings (not fraternal twins, no where near being identical twins. Sock knit from the same yarn, but almost nothing matched. Not the cast on, nor the cuffs, or body, or toe or size! I have in my time knit socks with different gauge (that resulted in different sized socks)--and made other monumentally obvious mistakes.

I am a good sock knitter (now) , because I have been such a terrible sock knitter—in the past. I know how to do it right, but only because I've had so much experience doing it wrong, over many years.

So for the next day or two, I will be working on secret socks. And thinking about what to knit next.

I need to look at my list—Everywhere yarn is clamoring to be knit--I have to find some plan!

Monday, March 05, 2012

Some Times Socks Just Knit Themselves


They must! These socks are just so easy to knit, so effortless, they feel like they are knitting themselves. I've had other pairs of sock that seem to take forever, that are full of mistakes, in spite of having been frogged several times, that are just too boring. But not these socks!

I mean, this sort of spiral color way isn't really my favorite—I like the colors, but I am not over the top with the way it plays out. The stitch isn't anything special either, -a variation of a 2 X 2 rib. A functional stitch (ribbing is always a functional stitch for an unknown sock yarn!) with just a little change. But look at the progress—not even a week since I started.

The gussets were done by Saturday night. As always, once the gusset is done, it seems like the sock is near finished. This sock certainly has a good head start—the flap was long, and the gusset longer. By the time it was finished, over 3 inches of the sole had been knit.

I added almost another 3 inches yesterday (6 inches of the foot now done!). There is not much more (inch, inch and half) to do before I start the toe!

I would have gotten more done,  but... I SInned, this weekend. A very venial sin, hardly a SIn at all—needles and notions, (but I do have plans to buy yarn!) In case you don't know SIn is Stash Increasing.

If you are local to NY/LI area, let me tell you about a wonderful sale. Stephen—inherited an yarn store. He was unable to keep it running. So it closed. He put all the yarn into storage (temporarily) and is now selling it off. (He has been doing this intermittently for a while) You can contact him here:  frangoss-AT-katewwdb-DOT-com—Put yarn sale in the subject, and tell him I sent you—and he'll send you an email with a spread sheet and details of what his has for sale, (and prices) and other details (address and directions)--fore armed with the information of what is available, (and how much it cost) you can decide for yourself if it is worth the drive to LI's north shore.  It was for me. Most of the stock (yarns/needles/books) are a few years old. But it's all been stored well, and looks brand new. There are discontinued yarns (Lion Brand Magic Stripes say) but if you like the yarn, it won't matter; and if you like Paton Classic Wool Merino (also now, sadly discontinued) it is actually a good thing! Some yarns/colors he has a single skein-some 30+ skeins. But its all very neatly organized, not all a jumble.
(NOTE—obviously, for the email address, sub an @ sign for -AT- and a . for the word -DOT- to make the email work)

I went to his sale last year,and was convince I got the best to be had (several MILES lovely lace weight wool, and some sock yarn) but I WAS WRONG! He had sale again on Saturday (past), and will have more stuff on sale next Saturday, March 10th.  Needles, notions,  and books and yarn! All at great prices.

I bought myself a set of sock needles--size 1's, (that is, a pair of circ's) --and I bought an other pair for a friend(size 2's) –both sets of Susan Bates circulars, for $2 each. And then, because so many have been generous to me over the years, I also bought some tape measures (to give a way) and paired them with some stitch markers (from last years sale) for friends,  (I also bought some scissors for me). It was a bit of a party at Panera's yesterday. I hardly spent anything (many of the notions were just $0.50!)--and I had a blast.  Nancy, Jessica and Debbie were happy—all of them are newish knitters and are still building up their kits of knitting notions.

Next weekend, I'll be back  along with the aforementioned Nancy, Jessica and Debbie, for sock yarn.  There is a ton to be had. I especially want some of the wonderful colors of Kroy solids--many of these solid  colors have been discontinued.  I have lots of patterned sock yarn, some bright clear solid colors will be a nice addition.  Will I see you there?

By then, I hope to have both the blue socks and the secret socks done! Hell, hopefully the violet blue blend socks will be done by tomorrow!