Archive for February, 2008

Just 9 days of knitting, and these socks are the result. Only my second pair of adult-size socks, and I’m really happy with how they turned out. There was just enough yarn leftover from the Chevron Scarf to make these (actually, with a few grams of each colorway to spare!). This is a fun but simple pattern — very easy to memorize for travel knitting (although I only worked on the socks at home and once at knitting night at Yarns R Us). Modifying them to ankle-high with a narrow band of ribbing left them a little loose around the ankles — but I like the effect, sort of ruffle-y.

I suppose if I ever want everyone to think I’ve gone off the deep end, I could be ridiculously matchy-matchy and wear the Chevron Scarf at the same time (not only are they made with the same yarn, but the patterns are similarly zig-zaggy).

Interested in making a pair of Jaywalkers for yourself? Grumperina‘s pattern is available as a free download from Magknits.

I finally delivered the finished infant hats to Reading Hospital, and of course picked up supplies to make some more. This time, volunteer services gave me green and white yarns to make hats for the St. Patty’s day babies. So I have a bit of a deadline this time! I’m trying a new pattern, too, since I got a bit bored with the plain 2×2 ribbed hats. This one is Slip Stitch Switch Hat by Patti Pierce Stone.

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So… of course I couldn’t wait very long to start another knitting project. Cast on for the Jaywalker Anklets at the start of the Daytona 500 on Sunday. As I mentione in my previous post, I’m using the Araucania Ranco leftover from my Chevron Scarf (Ravelry link — login required). I’m switching colors every four rows, except for the heel flap and cup, and also when I get to the toe shaping I will just use one color. I’ll have to weigh the yarn when I’m done with the first sock, but I think I may need to reverse the pattern on the second one (starting with the variegated yarn at the cuff, which will result in a navy blue heel flap/cup). It already feels like I’ve been knitting this for a long time, probably because of the thin yarn (fingering weight) and teeny needles (US size 1). But really, I’ve only worked on it three days so far, and I haven’t had much evening knitting time this week because of meetings. So I guess it’s going faster than I think. The photo on the left was taken on Monday when I was just a few stripes past the heel cup. I couldn’t resist doctoring up this photo — sorry, it looked like a mouth! I think my little Jaywalker monster is cute… although he doesn’t look like that anymore.

Now, my little Jaywalker Anklet is 10 stripes past the heel cup, maybe just past halfway done. Here’s an updated photo showing how much farther I got yesterday (2 more inches — 3 stripes equal one inch) in about an hour or so of knitting during the day (I’m off work this week) and about 2.5 hours more after my evening meeting. Here you can see the slip-stitch heel flap as well. The mechanics of knitting amaze me. That I can end up with something three-dimensional from some little pointy sticks… that adding and subtracting stitches in a certain way results in a zig-zag pattern… that a ball of yarn looks on the shelf is sometimes not what it looks like when knitted into something (and for better or worse — it can go both ways — but so far, most of mine have been of the “better” variety).

And I believe I mentioned earlier that I might write up the pattern for Billy’s socks — well, nobody said boo about being interested in it, but I’m posting it anyway. 😉 So here it is… enjoy! Billy’s Infant Socks pattern (it’s a PDF — Adobe Acrobat required — you can download Adobe Reader for free at Adobe.com, but these days most people already have it)

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Well, I figured I was so close to being finished with my beaded and striped version of Odessa that I would just stay up a little later Saturday night and finish it off. I ended up finishing it off somewhere between 12:30 and 1:00 AM Sunday morning. (!!!) There were some goofy spots where I messed up the decrease rounds, but I think it still looks just fine. Most likely something only I will notice, anyway. I’ve weighed my leftover yarn, and I think I just might have enough left to make a pair of Fetching mitts. (I’d really like to make something that completely encloses my hands, but I’m also thrilled — a bit too much, maybe — at the possibility of actually using up the leftovers and not being wasteful.) The mitts call for a heavier weight of the yarn I used for the hat, but I think I’ll have enough. I could always make the cuff a little shorter if I don’t — like leaving off half a cable or something.

While I had the postal scale out, I also weighed my leftover Araucania Ranco from the Chevron Scarf (Ravelry link — login required) and discovered I have about enough to make ankle-high Jaywalkers. I purchased the size needles needed yesterday, but discovered that the yarn I was going to use is a slightly heavier weight than the fingering weight called for in the pattern. I really don’t feel like adjusting gauge, so I’m going to adjust the length of the sock and use the proper weight of yarn instead.

Yesterday at Yarns R Us, I also picked up some gorgeous Wool in the Woods/Cherry Tree Hill sock yarn. It’s soooo soft… I swear I could just spend all day feeling up yarn. I’ll probably save this yarn for Monkey, or possibly for the sock knitting class I’m planning on taking at YRU this spring (toe-up, which I’ve never done before, done on one very, very, VERY long circular needle or “magic loop“).

And as if I didn’t have enough projects in my knitting queue already, I received the Winter 2007 issue of Interweave Knits in the mail yesterday (I just subscribed several weeks ago, before the Spring 2008 issue came out) and I’ve added the Citrus Yoke Pullover to the ever-growing list of stuff to make that I hope doesn’t turn out crappy. Plus, I spotted a cute little knitted toy on Knitty that I’d like to make for Billy — which will help use up some Simply Soft leftover from baby-blanket weaving. Looks like I might be hanging onto those extra 10 pounds a little while longer with my butt firmly (or maybe jiggly-ly) planted on the recliner with a cat, needles and yarn.

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Having finished the infant caps I’d been working on for more than two years (off and on… mostly off, considering it took me more than two years), it was time to start the next project. I really want to make another pair of socks, but I don’t have the right size needles for the Jaywalkers I wanted to make (that solution should be remedied within the next week). So I cast on for my second Odessa — this time, a beaded version, and what the heck, why not throw in some stripes. I found some Baby Cashmerino at the LYS (local yarn store/shop), Yarns R Us, and I just loved these two colors together (Wine and Pea Green). And it just figures, the wine color is discontinued. So the hand accessory I was hoping to make to match will either have to be just pea green unless I can find more of the wine color (YRU only had one ball left on the shelf and that was the one I bought for the hat) or if I have just enough wine left for cuffs or a stripe.

I really like how the spiral pattern of the hat makes the stripe end up looking all zig-zaggy. I’m sure that goes against Grumperina’s original vision of the design (flowing swirls, etc.) since the stripe kind of breaks up the flow a bit, but I think it’s a cool look.

It’s a little hard to see the beads since they’re nearly the same color as the yarn, plus I screwed up and put the beads in one stitch too soon, so they’re sort of tucked right in next to the SSK stitch, hiding them further. Strange thing is, I did this with all the beads in the first two beaded rounds. That’s what happens when I read it once, think I know it, and don’t look at the pattern again (I have the pattern stitch sequence memorized). Heck, I was just knitting so hypnotically that I didn’t even notice the beads were off-center until I started the second green stripe! I think I’ll just keep putting the beads in the wrong spot so they’re at least consistent throughout the entire hat — and maybe they’ll turn out to be endearingly quirky like the zig-zaggy stripes.

Oh, I wore the Chevron Scarf (Ravelry link — login required) for the first time on Thursday — worn to work as a fashion accessory, not necessarily for warmth. I’ll post a modeled photo as long as I can get one in which I can conceal the 10+ pounds I’ve gained back while knitting instead of working out over the past (nearly) three months. That could possibly take until the middle of summer when I’ve hopefully been spending more time running and bicycling outdoors instead of sitting on the recliner and knitting with the cat cuddled up by my shins. Hmmm… wonder how that scarf would look with a tank top and bike shorts? Although considering how long that blasted thing is, I’d better not get too close to the bike, lest I meet a demise like Isadora Duncan.

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Sorry, no new photos to share this time. Just a quick report that I am (finally) nearly through all of the yarn for the Reading Hospital infant caps. The one I’m working on now will be the last one from this bunch — I’m still questioning whether there’s enough yarn to 1) make the pompom for the top of the cap and 2) finish the cap to the specified size! We’ll see if it ends up with a shorter cuff or completely cuffless.

One thing I’ve noticed in making these last few infant caps is that I’ve gotten faster with my knitting. I actually finished one in one afternoon last Sunday. It used to take me several evenings of knitting (maybe a week of evenings) to make just one cap. Since I learned to knit about 7 or 8 years ago, I have always knitted “English” style (with the working yarn held in the right hand) and have developed a pretty decent knitting pace with that method (although I’m in no danger of breaking the sound barrier or anything). I have heard the rumor that knitting “Continental” style is faster, more efficient, what have you. I’ve also heard that “Combination” style is fast and efficient, in addition to its reputation for producing a more consistent fabric. Of course, the fastest and most efficient style is the one you’re most used to, in my opinion. But I got to thinking maybe I should try Continental, and possibly Combination style, and see how I like them. Going from English to Continental is fairly simple — just getting used to holding the yarn in your left hand instead of the right. I’m not nearly used to it enough yet to be as speedy as I am knitting English style, but used to it enough to be productive. Combination style, which I haven’t tried yet, involves moving the working needle so that the yarn wraps around in the opposite direction and requires some slightly different techniques than English and Continental, but I think once I’m more used to working with the yarn in my left hand I may give Combination a try as well. At the very least, switching between English and Continental could help alleviate some hand cramping (I did notice my left hand gets more cramped up when knitting Continental, and I don’t really have a cramping problem in my right hand when knitting English, unless I’m knitting for very long stretches of time.)

Oh — and through all this thinking and knitting and experimenting, I’ve finally decided what project I’m going to make next. I’ll be making a second Odessa (Ravelry link – login required) hat, but this time in a lighter weight yarn (Debbie Bliss Baby Cashmerino), in two different colors (not 100% sure how I’m going to split them up yet, but I have some ideas), and with beads. And of course I’ve also decided that I want to make some sort of hand accessory to match (probably mittens), but I don’t have enough yarn for that… so I’ll have to get some more. And then I’ll probably have more than I need and will need to figure out what to do with the leftovers. So the cycle goes…

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Wow. Baby socks have the potential to become very addictive. They’re lightning-fast to make and just Too. Damn. Cute. Here are the finished socks for my nephew Billy. They’re a little bigger than the test sock. Possibly just a hair too big right now, but he’ll grow into them pretty fast if they’re not just the right size now. It’s a very simple design, just a 2×2 ribbed leg that folds down in half to make an adorable cuff, then the rest is stockinette with a short-row heel. I think I have the hang of short rows now — it will be much easier to use this technique with a yarn that’s not so fuzzy. And speaking of the yarn, yes, it’s an acrylic/nylon blend (Red Heart Baby Teri) but it’s really soft and fuzzy. Perfect for baby feet in wintertime.

I finally got around to soaking and “blocking” the Chevron Scarf (that’s in quotes because I didn’t use any pins — so really, it’s just laying flat to dry, as flat as it can be considering it’s too long to fit diagonally on a double bed). I’ll still need to steam it with the iron to keep the curling at bay.

While I’m pondering which project I’ll start next, I’m going to finish up the last skein of yarn for the Reading Hospital infant caps. I think 2+ years is plenty long enough to be working on these things.

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I finished the Chevron Scarf just after the Giants kicked New England’s patootie on Sunday night (I wasn’t so much rooting for the Giants to win, as I was rooting for New England to lose). No FO pictures of that one yet — gotta wash and block first because it’s rolling so much it looks more like a drainpipe cozy than a scarf. But in the meantime, I can start a new project!

Before I go and make another pair of socks for moi, I decided to take a stab at knitting up a pair of infant socks for my nephew, Billy. Because it’s just not enough that his grandmother and great aunt make all sorts of handknitted stuff for him. The cutest baby on the planet (I may be biased) just can’t have too many handknits. Anyhoo… here’s the first sock I made — the “test” version is what it has become, because I want to make some changes for the final pair (which may end up leading to more pairs…).

I had some Red Heart Baby Teri lying around. (Yes, it’s acrylic. No, I’m not a yarn snob.) I picked it up a while back at I forget where — probably Michael’s — to use for swatching some new handwoven baby blanket designs, which of course I never got around to. And since I only picked up one skein each of four colors (blue, yellow, pink, purple), I don’t have enough for anything but swatching or small items. I already made one hat each from the yellow and purple for (now former) coworkers. I hadn’t even started using the pink or blue at all.

On Sunday, it dawned on me that this yarn might make a cute pair of infant socks — it’s supposedly a worsted weight (I’m not completely sold on that fact), so it’s too thick for feet that need to fit into shoes. But hey, 6-week-old babies don’t need shoes! So infant socks in winter sounded like a good use for this yarn.

It’s not a complicated “pattern”. In fact, I hate to really call it a pattern at all. It’s just some ribbing, short rows, stockinette, toe shaping with decreases and kitchener stitch to close up the tootsies. OK, written out it looks like a lot — but really, it’s simple. I did write down a bunch of pattern notes (so I remember how to repeat), and if the final socks actually fit Billy, I will post the so-called pattern if anyone is actually reading this and is interested.

When I make the final pair of socks, I’ll be casting on more stitches for a slightly larger circumference, not doing as many short rows for the heel (it looks a bit “nippley” to me), making the cuff ribbing longer, and I think I might make the foot just a hair longer, too. (Billy is only going to grow, he ain’t gonna shrink!)

For source material, I relied on Vogue Knitting’s Ultimate Sock Book (for short-row instruction and sizing guidelines) and the experience I gained from knitting my first pair of socks, as well as several sock patterns and short-row instructions I found online.

Well… gotta get going and work on those final socks!

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