Tuesday, August 22, 2006

Tight socks

I got as far as the shortrow heels for Rising Flames (aka after-the-fact falling leaves) and gave them another try-on.


They fit beautifully through the toes and up to the mid-instep (where you see the little white thread), and then get really tight. This is very strange, as I have particularly wide feet, and the ball of the foot is usually the problem for me. I've looked at all the sock patterns I can find online, and all of the shortrow heel patterns instruct you to just knit a tube between the toe and the heel. The only sock pattern I used before that (top-down with heel flap) had me make a gusset. Maybe I ought to rip back to mid-instep, and start doing some decreases towards the underside?

Also, my shortrow heels are tiny. They're just about the right width, but are really short/shallow. I'd expect the heel to come up to just under the ankle bone, but they only make the halfway mark. Are they supposed to be like that? Do I just have the world's tiniest row gauge? If so, is there anything I can do about it?

Sigh. I am probably the only person on earth who gets shortrow wraps, but still has trouble with shortrow heels.

That said, I love the technique (make so much SENSE) and I love this yarn (thanks SP!).

And I've never been one to mind a little frogging. Now if only I had added lifelines...

Friday, August 18, 2006

I really do knit...

Although my blog might lead you to believe that I only buy yarn.

I got a great big box from Beaverslide Dry Goods this week:
(The shoe I threw in for scale isn't doing it's job. The box was HUGE.)

Packed with beautiful yarn.

Upper Row: McTaggart Tweed ("fisherman weight", which is a heavy worsted to light bulky) in Mountain Mahogany, for a zip-up jacket for my husband.

The middle row, left to right has:
- Fisherman Weight wool in Brown Bison
- McTaggart Tweed in Arrowleaf Balsamwood
- Light Sportweight in Mink Heather (almost a heavy sock-weight)

Lower Row: McTaggart Tweed in Cutthroat Trout for some kind of outerwear sweater for me.

I made a Jo Ann Fabrics run while in Binghamton, NY for my cousin's wedding. The nearest one to me in Boston is a real pain to get to. I bought:
- Some thread
- ball-point needles and pins (good for sewing knit fabrics)
- several half-price purse handles
- some Sugar & Cream, because it's cheap and I haven't tried it yet.

I didn't buy any, but Jo Ann Fabrics seems to have it's own house brand of medium-quality yarns. As in, yarns with actual, honest-to-goodness natural fibers in them. Some were designer knock offs; one was almost identical to Rowan Soft Baby.

I've also bought two books recently:
- Greetings from Knit Cafe. I'll be honest. I bought this for the red carpet dress pattern, which I was thinking of making for my christmas dress (I'll be on the QM2!) With holiday knitting, I may not get around to it, but I'm hopeful.
- Generation T. this is a fun book on customizing T shirts. Some of it is highly punk, and some is more mainstream, but it's a great source for ideas. And there are a LOT of old T shirts at my house.

Not pictured: a box from KnitPicks with:

- Knitting Nature by Norah Gaughan.
The designs are all wonderful, but I just had to have the chart for the Vortex Street Pullover. I may not make the sweater itself (a-line tunic probably won't be flattering), but I'll find somewhere else to use it. I wrote my thesis on vortex-induced vibration, so I was absolutely thrilled to see a Karman Vortex Street done in cables. I'm kind of miffed that I didn't think of it first, though...

- more Gloss for swatching, and a second skein for some socks
- More Suri Dream Handpaint, so that really big swatch I started can turn into a wrap
- Some Wool of the Andes for charity knitting
- Some Worsted-weight Bare for hand-dying
- Color cards for many of the new yarns

But I *have* done some knitting. Really I have!

Clapotis #3 is done, other than snipping the ends (already woven in) and dropping the ladders. Must.. not... forget.. to... bring... present...

This is the toe of my first:
- socks made of sock-weight yarn (as opposed to sport or worsted)
The yarn is a beautiful hand-dye by my one-skein secret pal.
- socks made without DPNs (DPNs are being used as a stitch holder in the photo)
- toe-up socks
- short-row toe sock
- sort-of-two-at-once socks

I started using Wendy's generic toe-up directions with some customizations. I resized them to my feet (68 st), and decided to use a Turkish (figure 8) cast-on:

That way, instead of using a provisional cast on, the loops attached to the waste yarn are made on the second needle instead. It gave a slightly looser row where the provisional cast-on would have been, but I'm hoping it will block out. It's on the underside of the toe, anyway.

I tried to do the two-at-once on two circulars method, and got seriously mixed up. So what I did was to work the toe of each sock separately up to the end of the short row toes, and then I put them both on the needles and worked from there.

By the time I got past the toe "knuckles", I was getting bored with stockinette, so I googled for some lace patterns. I really liked the lace from Falling Leaves, so I decided to throw it in on the instep and ankles. Lo and behold, it's also a toe-up, short-row toe and heel sock. So even though I hadn't read their directions to start with, I did end up following them. I suppose that (with the exception of the lace pattern), I unvented them. I think I'll call them Rising Flames. :)

I havent had access to my camera for a few days, so I can't post pics, but I'm approaching the heel. Very much looking forward to the short row heel.

I'm making these on size 0 KnitPicks Classic Circulars, which I have to say I love. They are quick like my one and only pair of addis, nice and pointy, and I LOVE the skinny and flexible cable. I have a Denise set and prefer cassein to metal, so I won't be buying the Options set, but I will definitely be picking up some size 1-4 needles. I might also buy a couple of cables and tips in Denise sizes for small-diameter knitting. I love my Denise set, but the cable is not especially flexible, so I've gotten some bad laddering when trying to do magic loop and some less bad laddering with the two circulars method. It is VERY nice that the Options tips and cables are available a la carte.

On my way to and from Binghamton (and at the scenic Comfort Inn), I did some swatching with a previous KnitPicks order:

Left-to right, thats:
- top row: McTaggart Tweed in snowberry (pinker than cuttthroat trout, which is more peachy)
- bottom row: Cotolin, Quarry (with some double-stranding experiments), Twirl, Suri Dream Handpaint

- Some experiments in stripes with some leftover worsted wools
- a full-skein swatch in Suri Dream Handpaint, soon to become a wrap.

Tuesday, August 08, 2006


These could save many a marriage.

Now if they could only find a way to make circulars...

Monday, August 07, 2006

I have a talented SP

And not just at picking out great gifts either.

She acid-dyed the lovely skein of sock yarn you see above. I am highly impressed. Not only are the colors rich and beautiful (red, a burnt orange, chocolate brown, and purple), but the transitions are really smooth. (I have a little expierence dying with kool-aid, so I know how hard transitions are.) I thought it was Lorna's Laces at first; that's how great this yarn is.

Also in the box were tissues with a pretty modern floral pattern, a little notebook (just the right size for knitting notes; enough room to doodle, but not big enough to weigh down a purse), and a set of labels that say "made with love".

Thanks SP!

Wednesday, August 02, 2006

Yarn porn, fall colors, Clapotis, mean lace

And they say money can't buy happiness.

My WEBS order arrived:

- Debbie Bliss Merino DK in a seal grey, turquoise, and grassy green. I'm thinking it might make for some pretty colorwork. The grey is darker than it looked online, but I still like it.
- Plassard Coto-lin in pink, brown, and tan
- Not shown: the yarn I bought for my one-skein secret pal (not going to spill it yet).

I'm a touch disappointed; they were out of stock in two of the yarns I ordered, but didn't tell me before shipping. As a result, I'm short one ball of coto-lin for the striped Tivoli I had in mind. If they had called, I would have asked them to substitute another color. Now, I have to place another order for it (and pay for shipping). Next time, I'll make a note to that effect in the comments field when I order. Overall, I'm happy with WEBS though.

As well as a box from KnitPicks with summer closeouts and sample balls from their fall line:

top-to-bottom, that's:
- a whole lotta Main Line (love that yarn; looks a little luxer than Shine)
- Quarry (lightweight alpaca/wool bouclee. The colors are much more vibrant than they look on screen.)
- Suri Dream Handpaint
- Telemark ("good, stout" Peruvian wool in sportweight for colorwork. It's funny; the non-luxury yarns at Knitpicks are always a lot softer than I expect. This one is not soft, but it is not rough or itchy. I wouldn't wear it against the skin, but it also won't be exfoliating my neck like my Debbie Bliss Aran Tweed.)
- Swish superwash (again, pretty stinking soft for regular wool. And washable is *really* useful.)
- Twirl (bulky alpaca/wool boucle. This is not a new yarn, but it's my first ball of it, so I say it counts)
- Gloss (silk/merino fingering weight. Meant for socks, but might make a beautiful lacey or mini-cabled sweater.)


I have to say, I love the colors I picked out. I didn't intend to coordinate them, but I just love the combination of brown, teal/turquoise, rich red. I think I have a fall wardrobe pallette right in front of me, don't you?
- they are all gorgeous colors
- they all say "fall" to me
- I finally found a shade of brown I can wear (the more chestnutty, reddish browns, rather than the more yellowey browns)
- Most of my summer clothese have that brown in it or coordinate (and so will transition into this pallete)
- I bought a pair of adorable and comfy brown suede mary jane wedges on clearance over the summer, which will do beautifully.

Now, I don't usually think of a seasonal pallette, or even do enough shopping in any given season to enforce one. But:
- the pants I've been wearing since 2002 are wearing out (I had several pairs)
- I'm half a size smaller than I used to be (and have my eye on the other half), so I might need more new clothes than usual this fall
- I'm in the mood for some serious knitting this fall, including a couple of pattern ideas.

I think that calls for some planning.


In other news, Clapotis #3 is done (but I forgot to photograph it, and I'm not going downstairs right now). I'm going to gently spritz-block it before dropping the ladders to see if that would soften up the yarn. MCY silk/merino isn't as buttery as Lion & Lamb, but it's still very nice. I'm hoping a little bit of bloom will improve it.


In still other news, I have started and scrapped by first lace project. I tried to make a mini, scarf-sized Print o' the Wave for my one-skein secret pal. The last thing you send is something you made for them out of one skein of yarn. I figured laceweight yarn goes a long way, so I gave it a shot. I expected to love lace (lots of opportunity for geekiness), but it made me really, really tense. I had a really hard time holding the needles and the fine yarn. Part of the problem is that I let go of the left needle a bit when I purl. I did better when I tried purling as for combination knitting, but I haven't gotten the hang of how to do slanted decreases in combo yet. The other part of the problem is that my only size 3 needles are aluminum, and I'm used to working on casseine: metal is heavier and slipperier. After about an hour of swearing and increased adrenaline, by husband gently suggested that I make something else. He's so smart.