Sunday, January 18, 2009

Some Socks

I've been on another sock knitting kick for the past 8 or 9 days. It started because I had a skein of Mountain Colors Bear Foot that I had been dying to use, and I finally decided it was time.

Unfortunately I am just not too thrilled with the resulting socks. The yarn label called for a gauge of 5-6 sts/inch on size 3 or 4 needles. So I knit the yarn up at 6 sts/inch on size 3 needles, and I really feel that the resulting fabric is just too loose for socks.

I was also not so thrilled with the pattern I used. It was Cat Bordhi's Jeweled Steps from New Pathways. This is a sock made with her sidestream architecture. The shaping is actually rather cool, with the arch expansion worked across the inside of the foot. It's the Jewel part that I didn't care for. The pattern is supposed to highlight the colour changes in hand painted yarns, and it uses groups of 3 stitches wrapped 2x with the yarn before being knit. It seemed to me that while doing this if I wrapped the stitches too tight they were pushed together leaving little holes around them, and if I wrapped them too loosely the surrounding stitches pulled up the slack, and caused little holes. There did seems to be a happy medium in there, but it was so difficult to attain that I would never bother to try again.

These socks also represent the 2nd time Cat's master numbers did not work out, and created socks that were way too long for my foot. I checked and rechecked my numbers, and I do not understand why it didn't work out, when it has so many other times. The last time this happened I frogged and forgot about socks for a bit- this time I restarted the sock several times, until I got it right.

There were two good things that came out of making these socks:

  • I taught myself the magic loop while making them, and I really liked it (I thought I would hate it)
  • I've discovered that this is the warmest sock yarn ever, and I must go get more to knit up on smaller needles.
  • When I finished up that pair of socks I decided I wanted to try a pair with an after thought heel. This pair is made with Lion Brand Fisherman's wool that I dyed with Kool Aid a long time ago.

Again worked at 6 sts/inch on size 3 needles with the magic loop. I'm not following a pattern of any kind for these, I'm just winging it. The after thought heel really does seem to make the sock move more quickly, and I think if I had to supply an active family with all of their socks I would definitely use this method all the time. However, they look totally bizarre when they are not being worn.

Since they were only intended to be an exercise I didn't really pay attention to gauge or size until the first sock was done, and I decided I like it a lot. Now I wish I had made them a bit larger, but as you can see they will stretch just enough to fit my feet.

Wednesday, January 7, 2009

Hello 2009!

Many people seem to think that the way you bring in the new year will be reflected in your entire year. I hope that is not true, because 2009 started as I was in the middle of a state if disorganization, and procrastination. I worked late, rushed to get home at 11:45, changed my clothes, realized I never did pick up that bottle of champagne to bring to my neighbor's party.... and then it was midnight. Actually, I've never thought of New Year's Eve as a big party holiday, anyway.
I haven't been blogging because my camera was forgotten at my sister's house on Christmas day. Also, in the days leading up to Christmas I was so busy that I completely forgot to photograph all of my FOs before gifting them. I was completely irritated with myself for that.
The last photo of the granny square afghan was a pretty good representation of the finished product. It weighs almost 5 pounds, and my mother loves it.
The thrummed mittens, however looked so much better complete and with the ends all woven in. I am most disappointed that I didn't get a shot of them. I will try next time I am at my sister's house.
Speaking of Christmas, I hope you all had a wonderful one. I had a very nice one, which included a very long nap in the middle of the day. I usually torture myself and go the whole day on about 2 hours sleep. It was nice to skip that tradition.
I received a very nice gift from my brother of this yard-sale yarn.

It's 20 balls, 1000grams total, of an aran yarn from Ireland.

I tried to get a photo that would enable you to read the label, but it seemed like no matter what angle I used there was some sort of glare. What that says under Aran is: made in Ireland specially for P. Quill, Ballingeary, Co. Cork, Ireland.
The only other information on the label is the fiber content (wool) and colour, and lot number, along with some product care/cleaning symbols.
I have no idea of the yardage, but that's easy enough to find out. I'll just wrap a ball around my niddy noddy. I have also started a swatch, but at 4 stitches to the inch the fabric seems really dense and stiff. I have decided I will have to make a few swatches at different stitch counts, then wash them all to see what I like best.
Since Christmas I have managed to whip out a few more quick projects. Some were gifted before I got the camera back. Once was actually for me, so I can share:
I made these felted slippers because I wore a whole in the ones I made last year. I decided I'd better use something a little more sturdy and thick this time. So, these are lite lopi double stranded. I just used a basic cuff down/heel flap sock construction. They were worked on size 11 needles, and would have been finished in one evening, but the lopi started to irritate my skin. In order to save my hands I knit them over two evenings.
I love the way Lopi softens up after felting (or even a tiny bit of fulling). These do need to be shrunk down a bit more, but I've been wearing them anyway. They are so warm!
I have also started 3 new baby blankets this week. Two are more than half done. I'm not sure if I am excited or relieved about that. I have decided to design all three of these, so I will wait until they are more complete to share pictures.
I do have one Christmas project picture to share today. Remember that doll? Well, here it is:
This doll was a gift for my friend Chris, who is known lovingly on the ravelry Peaches & Creme group as Wonderwoman. Chris (sorry non-ravelrars she has no blog) is such a wonderful and supportive friend, and does many of my crochet pattern testing. This summer when another one of my pattern testers was unable to complete a project when I needed it I emailed Chris at the last minute asking her to test the pattern that very day! She did, and enabled us to confidently print up the patterns for the Peaches & Creme workshops on time.
That was when the idea for this doll was born. I had to do something to thank her for that. If you notice her current ravitar I think it is fair to say she likes it.
The doll and her outfit are completely free styled. I first made two little tubes for legs, then joined the tops to form the crotch, then I added on the red shoe-tips. I knit up from the joined legs pretty much in the style of a seamless raglan sweater, made a long-ish neck, then doubled the stitches to work the head.
The hair is some eyelash yarn that was dug from the bottom of my stash. The hair just cracks me up! The outfit, which was originally intended to be much different, was made out of rayon chenille, and rayon crochet filament. The rayon filament- while it is wonderfully shiny and golden had to be multi-stranded to knit up at a sport weight gauge to match the chenille, and it became a bit too stiff to work with the fair-isle vision in my head. So, I crocheted a little birdlike shape over the knitting instead! It wasn't exactly what I envisioned, but I was pretty happy with the outcome.