Tuesday, December 25, 2007

Welcome Yule

University has made a major dent in my knitting output, and though I still do quite a bit of stress-relief knitting, I've stuck mostly to vanilla patterns and small projects. I did finish MS3, but foolishly forgot to take a picture before I gifted it. And I did finish the Kimono shawl just at the beginning of the school year, but still haven't blocked it!

I did, however, manage to finish and photograph a few pairs of socks:

Gansey socks, from the Six_sox_knitalong:

I love Gansey socks

I really like Wildfoote for sock yarn, though I know others find it splitty. It doesn't give me too many problems and I really like the way the socks feel and wear after a few washes.

Pattern: I love Gansey, by Janine Le Cras
Yarn: Brown Sheep Wildfoote, in Vinca Minor, or something like that
Needles: 2.5 mm Addi circs.
Modifications: I don't do hearts. So I did diamonds instead.

And, finished way back in August! Jutta's socks:

Jutta's socks, complete

Pattern: Jutta's socks, from Folk Knitting in Estonia, by Nancy Bush
Yarn: Fleece Artist merino, in Pinata
needles: 2.25 mm Brittany Birch DPN's

Super comfy - but I've noticed that I wear out 100% wool socks much faster than I do blends. I don't know if I will continue to buy and knit 100% wool yarns like Fleece Artist and Cherry Tree Hill, as lusciously soft as they are, although I will definitely use and knit up what I have already stashed. In the meantime, I'll enjoy them while they last.

Tuesday, July 03, 2007

Clue 1 of Mystery stole is done!

Mystery Stole 3 - Clue 1
Originally uploaded by Sophie_vf
The third Mystery Stole Knitalong hosted by Melanie of Pink Lemon Twist is well underway! Melanie released the first clue on June 29, and 4000 members are gradually discovering, at the same time, the design as it unfolds week by week.

The Mystery Stole is an intriguing concept - nobody but the designer knows what the finished product will look like - therein lies the appeal. However, given her previous mystery stole designs, you can be pretty darn sure it won't suck.

This clue was fairly short because it only started with two stitches and increased, but I think the next ones will be the full width and rectangular. But you never know!

Wednesday, June 20, 2007

Duelling pinatas

Duelling pinatas
Originally uploaded by Sophie_vf
I finally started knitting up this skein of Fleece Artist merino sock I bought last summer in Vancouver. Really, when I bought it, I knew that the vivid and extremely excited looking colorway (Pinata) was going to be an issue when selecting a pattern. I could have done plain vanilla socks like the CTH socks I did a while ago, but I really wanted something more entertaining to knit.

On the left, Jutta's socks from Folk Knitting in Estonia, on the right, Undulating Rib from Favorite Socks from Interweave Knits. I think I'm going to stick with the Jutta's socks, because they're basically vanilla with a lace detail going down the sides, so there isn't an overkill of investment in stitch details that won't really show.

And yes, in real life, the colours are actually louder than this.

Friday, June 01, 2007

a little summer vanilla

Nothing fancy here, just plain but fun vanilla socks, using up some leftover yarn. I might make these again, so I thought I'd better save the recipe. They're just a 64 stitch cast on, with 2 x 2 ribbing from the cuff down, increased to 38 sole stitches before beginning garter stitch short row heel, decreased back to 64 stitch circumference before knitting a plain stockinette foot. In Regia tip-top cotton, 2.5 mm KP circ.
small vanilla

And for a larger serving of vanilla:

Recipe: cast on 32 stitches for short row toe, stockinette foot increased to 40 sole stitches before beginning short row garter stitch heel, decrease again and begin 3 x 1 ribbing, and knit till yarn is almost done. EZ's sewn bind-off. These are in CTH Supersock in potluck jewel colours, 2.5 mm Inox circ.

I'm doing these mostly because I've found that 100% merino socks seem to wear a little quickly in the heel, and I'm hoping the garter stitch heel will be a bit sturdier.

large vanilla

Monday, May 21, 2007

Kimono shawl beginning

Kimono shawl beginning, originally uploaded by Sophie_vf.

I've been wanting to do this shawl since I got the book, and this is a nice long term project. You don't want to sit and knit this all at once, because it does get a bit monotonous, but it's nice to pick up and work on on movie night.

I'm using size 4 Boye circs and Knitpicks Shadow in...um, I don't know. The greenish one. Lost Lagoon or something like that? I had used this earlier for the Mystery Stole, but ended up frogging it because the style just didn't suit me. It's a beautiful stole, just not my style. I was worried that all that frogging/reknitting/spit splicing would really do a number on the Shadow but it held up well. I like the multiple hues in this yarn and it's fairly soft. I'm in no hurry with this, so it's a nice leisurely knit I can take my time with.

Thursday, May 17, 2007

Horcrux Socks

I'm all for easy knitting these days, and these Horcrux socks from the Six Sox Knitalong really fit the bill:

Horcrux complete

They're nice and short, perfect for summer, and the little bit of zigzag lace is entertaining to knit without being overwhelming. The color I chose is a bit easter-egg-y, but I think I'll keep them anyway. I love the colours of Trekking, but I've found that kids find it a little bit rough. So, my initial plan of knitting these in a smaller size to give to one of my nieces, a Harry Potter fan, was shelved. I think she would have textural issues with it, and would likely never wear them. So I'll keep these for myself, and try to find something softer to knit this with for her and perhaps the other young Harry Potter fans in the family. Might be a good time to look for Gryffindor colours.

Horcrux in progress

After deciding to keep this particular pair, I had to re-knit the foot to get it to fit me after all. Not too much of a chore, and since Trekking has no particular repeat, I didn't have to worry about the toes making an abrupt colour change.

Pattern: Horcrux Socks, Six Sox Knitalong
Yarn: Trekking XXL
Needles: Addi Turbo circs, 2.5 mm using magic loop

Sunday, May 06, 2007

Spring socks, and a Swallowtail

Now that I'm done with the university semester and Big Important Events are out of the way, I have time to update my much reduced, but consistent, knitting.

First, Dalarna:
Dalarna socks
pattern from Knitting on the Road, by Nancy Bush
STR in Lover's Leap
2.25 mm Brittany Birch
mods: toe-up with magic loop cast-on (from Knitty) and widdershins heel (also from Knitty)
This was the Knitting on the Road KAL choice for February/March and I finished it on a bus trip to Edmonton in mid-March, but kept forgetting to take pictures. I loved this pattern, and am glad the group chose it because I would never have bothered with it otherwise. It looks so plain in the book, but that's what made it so enjoyable to knit. It was perfect for a semi-solid yarn, and the clock pattern made it interesting. I did modify it to be knit toe-up, since I wanted to make the best use of my skein, which worked out perfectly.
This was also my first skein of STR. I did not want to love it, but I did. So soft, cushy and springy.

Since I was on a bus trip, I made sure I brought sock yarn! So on the same weekend I finished Dalarna, I cast on for Roza's sock, and finished it in...I don't know, about a week. It was a quick knit:

Roza's socks
pattern: Roza's Socks,designed by Grumperina for Spring IK07
Fortissima Colori, leftover from the Mamlukes
2.5 mm Inox circs
Not much else to say, but again an easy to memorize pattern that works well with a gently transitioning yarn.

And last but not least, Rolling Thunder!

Rolling Thunder socks
Rolling Thunder by Sivia Harding for Knitty
Lorna's Laces Bittersweet
size 1 KP circs
mods: omitted the beads

I did try this with beads initially, but once I tried on the cuff I found they made me crazy. I have weird textural issues. But I really loved the Thunderbird stitch design and I like picot hemmed cuffs, so I did that instead, and substituted purl ridges for the beaded ridges. After the cuff, the garter rib goes fast, BUT, I ran out of yarn a few inches short of the second sock. No way was I willing to rip this and do contrasting toes and heels, though that would have been the logical thing to do. But I just didn't want to interrupt the colour scheme for this particular sock. So although I started these socks over the Christmas holidays, I didn't get ahold of yarn till a few weeks ago, and then finished them right away. My daughter has already claimed them for her own.

Closeup of the Thunderbird stitch detail - it really does look like a Thunderbird under storm clouds!:

Thunderbird stitich detail

Finally, the Swallowtail shawl - my second:

white Swallowtail
Swallowtail shawl by Evelyn Clark, Fall IK06
Knitpicks Bare merino, fingering weight
size 5 Boye
cast on Wednesday night, May 2, cast off Saturday morning, May 5, 2007 - in time for my daughter's First Communion
diversions: Pride and Prejudice (the Knightly/McFayden version) and audio book of War and Peace, watching dance tech rehearsal during cast-off

I chose the Swallowtail because I figured it was my best chance of getting a shawl done in 3 days - I'd knit it before in the summer, and knew the pattern was fairly easy to "read" and thus catch mistakes. I managed to catch almost all of them on the back side, purling back.

There's nothing like being time pressured for a special occasion to speed your knitting along! I'd like to knit one again for myself - at a more relaxed and enjoyable pace.

In action:
Swallowtail in the garden

Saturday, March 10, 2007

I found the coolest thing

While peeking at the finished Dalarna's on a fellow KOTR knitter's blog, I found the coolest meme: Booking through Thursday.

Granted, these days I am more of a wanna-be reader, barely able to keep up with my own real life book club now that I am awash with reading for school. Still, books are such a big part of my life that anything bookish is irresistably attractive to me. How can I resist?

Booking Through Thursday

  1. Do you lend your books to other people? If so, any restrictions?

    All the time. Most of the time, they're books I won't be too distressed to never see again - but I do prefer getting them back. Because my sibs live the next province over, we frequently have books on long-term loan from one another - like, a couple of years. It's common to walk into each other's houses on vacation and retrieve a book from their shelves - "Hey, ya done with this?"

  2. Do you borrow books from other people? (Friends or family—I'm not talking about the public library)

    Yes, often - especially within our very cheap book club, in which we endeavour to circulate a few copies through all the members.

  3. And, most importantly—do the books you lend/borrow get returned to their rightful owners??

    Most of the time - in the last few days I just loaned out one and got back four, though sometimes the balance is the other way around...

Leaving the fair isle behind

Now that the snow is starting to melt in Alberta with somewhat longer breaks till the next snowfall, my thoughts are turning to lace. Apparantly my knitting interests are seasonal, though I didn't deliberately set out to make it that way. But over the winter, my favorite projects have involved some sort of colorwork. Here's a few I was too lazy to update as they were finished:
Maimu's mittens

pattern: Maimu's mittens, from Nancy Bush's "Folk Knitting in Estonia
yarn: Sandnesgarn Tove, sport/dk wook
needles: 2.25 mm Brittany birch - a big mistake - broke two needles in the process. Next time, metal for sticky wool!
knit Jan 21 - Feb 19 with lots of breaks in between.

This picture really is in focus - the pattern doesn't show up as well as I hoped because the brown yarn is a bit heathered, which I didn't really realize till quite a ways into the project. I love these mittens - they're a bit thinner than the Fox and Geese mittens below, but they're perfect for frosty mornings.

Here's the Fox and Geese mittens:

Finished Fox and Geese mittens

I finished these Boxing week - it took a while to get a picture. They turned out biggish (but I have tiny hands) so I flung them in the drier to start with, then after a few weeks of wearing them all floppy, flung them in a hot wash to felt them. They didn't actually felt or shrink that much, because they were knit fairly tightly to start with, but I got enough felting to make them very thick and cozy. They turned out to be perfect Alberta winter mittens.

pattern: Fox and Geese mittens, by Robin Hansen
yarn: Paton's Classic merino
needles: size 4 inox circs

And finally, a stranded beret, mixing and matching motifs from Anna Zilboorg's book.

don't shoot!

I like the underside too - love the white waves on blue:

the underside

Pattern: Beret from 45 Fanciful Hats, by Anna Zoolberg
yarn: Paton's Classic Merino - again, I have loads of the stuff
needles: 4 mm and 5 mm Aero and Inox circs and DPN's

The fit was really too big, unfortunately:
the elusive top of my head

so again, unable to leave well enough alone, I flung it into the washer, where it shrank and felted quite a bit. I like it the size better now, though it definately lost some elasticity. Next time around, smaller needles should do the trick. But probably not till next year. Spring is in the air, and that means lace and short socks. Planning, planning, planning.

Monday, March 05, 2007

Mamluke Socks

Mamluke Socks
Originally uploaded by Sophie_vf.
Susan at the Folk Socks Knitalong did a terrific job getting members revitalized by issuing a February challenge to knit one of the socks that had already been done in the past year, since so many of us had WIP's that were malingering or else missed the sock when it was originally posted. The Mamluke was the KAL selection some time last spring or summer, and I just don't do colorwork when it's hot out. So it was a perfect time to catch up on a sock I'd always meant to try.

Wendy Guernsey is not readily available here and is rather expensive online, but I noticed that a number of other knitters successfully did this sock in standard fingering weight - this is the pair that pushed me over the edge. I liked the effect of slow-striping Trekking in the Iris Garden, so chose a similar slow-striping Fortissima for the main colour for the Mamlukes, and a cream Regia for the pattern colour. I'm pretty happy with how they turned out. It took me four tries to find the right gauge and tension, but once I got that it was a relatively smooth knit.

I replaced the "Allah" pattern bands with an Estonian star and a scroll motif from Anna Zilboorg - a poster on the KAL mentioned that during a workshop, Nancy Bush requested that knitters replace the Allah motif with something else from now on, and that the original socks she copied were likely to have been funeral socks. The scroll still has an eastern feel, I think, and serendipitously, one of the other Egyptian socks in the book has a star similar to the Estonian one, so it seems to work. I forgot to add the little dots in the rightmost sock, so I'll have to duplicate stitch that in, some day. Or not.

I liked the way the heel looks, and it's not uncomfortable, but it seems shallow, and not bendy enough. If I ever knit this again, I would sub in a short row or afterthought heel, but keep the stripes. I liked those.

They really are the same size, at least when stacked on top of another. I'm not sure why the right one looks bigger. Maybe the different colour changes.

Fortissima Colori and Regia
2.75 mm Inox circulars
Mamluke socks from Nancy Bush's Folk Socks
knit in fits and starts throughout February 07

Sunday, March 04, 2007

An actual update, now with time travel

Part of the reason I haven't blogged in so long is that December was primarily given over to Christmas knitting, and I didn't want to give away what I was making for various nieces and nephew (singular). But, now that it's done,it can be shown!

Christmas knitting

Hmmm, it looks like a pitifully small pile considering the time spent on it. It's the felting that makes it look so small!
I cannot say I felt the love that other people seem to for the Fibertrends clogs. Perhaps working in the smaller sizes made it such a pain in the butt, because you needed a 16-20" circular for those, and the combination of the Boye needlemaster cables and the humongous size 13 needles hurt my hands. Maybe doing these in adult sizes are less aggravating. But the outcome is so cute, I don't regret making them, and they were well received.

The booties were a lot more fun to make, and less hard on the hands. I'd definately make them again.

The silk garden beret is actually the Last Minute Purled Beret, from Wendy at the Garter Belt, downsized for a child. The rainbow hat actually started out as a pinwheel blanket, but I soon realized that I would never get a blanket done before the little dude went off to college, thus the quick conversion into a hat.

And the dishcloths were my exercise in learning to throw yarn with my right hand, in case one day I might wish to learn two handed fairisle, which frankly I'm not motivated to do at the moment. I'm perfectly happy at knitting two colours in my left hand, which I've been doing most of this winter.


Mea culpa.

I just realized that people have actually been commenting here at my blog, and I had NO IDEA, because....well, I had no idea I had somehow set blogger to moderate comments. And, I haven't updated in so long that I missed the blogger move and the update to the new system.

So I was completely shocked to update this morning, and find 100 comments waiting to be approved. Um.

Many apologies to all who commented and wondered what kind of dumbass was refusing to accept their comments, never mind acknowledge them. Thank you all for your kind input, and I promise I was not trying to be surly or ignorant. Well, maybe ignorant, but only in a blogger sort of way.

Off to tinker some more with the dashboard. Thanks again!