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Archive for August, 2008

At the knit-in at Yarns R Us last week, Kim noticed I was working on yet another pair of 2-at-a-time socks and asked if I’d like to teach a class on knitting 2-at-a-time, toe-up — since there are some people who are interested in learning that. So, my answer was maybe/probably/will think about it. Shortly after, the answer became yes. So I’ve started preparing.

My first step was coming up with a pattern to use for class. I had initially thought about using my Baby Fern – Rib Anklets pattern, but that would be more like a multi-session knitalong than a single class. So of course, I’m opting for baby socks. And a DK-weight yarn, so they go fast. Thank goodness I have a nephew to knit for, so my FOs will be put to use after I’m done with the class!

(click photo to see it larger)

Here are the details:

  • Pattern: Stretchy Baby Socks (my own, to be published after the class — will be a free pattern)
  • Yarn: Cascade Fixation (cotton/elastic — only need half a ball, 25 grams!)
  • Needles: US 4, Addi Turbo 40″ (for magic loop 2-at-a-time)
  • Description: Toe-up, 2-at-a-time method, stockinette foot, short row heel (with no wrapping or picking up wraps!), ribbed leg, rolled stockinette cuff.
  • Started 8/25/08, finished 8/29/08.

I won’t be able to teach it until at least mid-October, though, because September is just going to be too busy for me (October will be a bit busy, too, but what else is new).

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Finished up a second birthday present for Mom, another pair of footies.

This is only the second pair of footies I’ve made out of Cascade Fixation (cotton/elastic), but both times I enjoyed it so much that I now have 3 or 4 more balls of it in the yarn stash. Plus enough Fixation for another pair of footies that’s left over from the very first pair I made.

Mom loves to wear the first pair I made her when she’s golfing. She says they’re really comfortable. (And, well, yeah, they are — at least for the amount of time I’ve had both pairs on to take photos.) Here are the details:

  • Pattern: Mom’s Fast Florida Footies by Lynn DT Hershberger
  • Yarn: Cascade Fixation, 1 ball (yeah, really!)
  • Needle: US 2.5 Addi Turbo, 40″
  • Pattern Modifications: For this pair, I knit them toe-up, 2 at a time on magic loop, with a slip-stitch heel a la Wendy Johnson. In order to get the slip-stitch heel to work properly, I added 2 more stitches than LynnH’s original pattern calls for (46 instead of 44).
  • Started: August 15, 2008
  • Finished: August 19, 2008

One of the reasons I love this pattern is because it’s such a fast knit. As far as my modifications go, I’m still not completely happy with my math for the gusset and heel — the footies are a little tight going on. I think I need to increase a bit more for the gusset so that the heel flap ends up being longer. Of course, it didn’t help that I was knitting ridiculously tight… probably releasing stress into my knitting or something! I really need to learn to relax a bit when working with the Fixation.

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Well, now that Mom’s birthday has passed and the present is no longer a surprise, here are the bloggy details!

  • Pattern: Gelato Bag (Fiber Trends AC-76 by Bev Galeskas)
  • Yarn: Cascade 220 (wool), colorway 2401 Burgundy, 1 skein (only a couple yards leftover) + Bollicine Etoile (mohair/acrylic), colorway 111, just a little more than one ball (only used 6 grams of the second ball)
  • Needles: Size US 11 Clover 16″ Circular (also Boye US 10.5 aluminum straights to hold stitches for 3-needle bind-off on handles… I later found my size US 11 aluminum straights in a UFO to be frogged)
  • Started: 7/6/08
  • Finished Knitting: 7/13/08
  • Felted: 7/30/08
  • All Finished: 8/2/08 (added clasp)
  • Clasp: Clover magnetic closure and copper-colored dragonfly button, bought at Yarns R Us, Hamburg PA
  • For those on Ravelry, project page is here

This was a really fast knit — even though it was a whole week from cast-on to bind-off, I didn’t work on it every day. In fact, I think there were at least 4 days or so where I didn’t touch it at all, and there were some days where I only did a couple of rows. The bulk of the knitting was done on the first and last days. It’s also an extremely easy project to make!

The photo on the right shows the bag before felting. The photo below shows the bag after felting, while it was drying. (Click on the photos to see a larger version.) It shrank a little more in height than width. After felting, the purse measured about 12″ across (when flattened), and about 9″ from the center bottom to the opening on top. So, it ended up roughly 75% of its pre-felted size.

I probably could have felted it a little more, but any smaller and it wouldn’t really work for Mom. As it is, I don’t think it will be a daily-use purse for her, since she tends to have a heavy purse full of all kinds of stuff. But I think she’ll still appreciate it and use it at least occasionally.

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Just when I thought maybe I was done knitting Fla-Vor-Ice Cozies, my coworker Brian returned from vacation and witnessed Rose and I using ours. Of course, his preschool-aged daughter has the same intolerance for cold hands while enjoying a frozen treat… so I said I would make one for her. I am pleased to present Brianna’s Fla-Vor-Ice Cozy:

  • Yarn: ONline Supersocke Summer Color, colorway #1040 (leftover from Spiral Eyelet Socks)
  • Needle: US 4 Addi Turbo, 40″
  • Pattern: Mostly K2 P2 ribbing. In the middle I did 1 purl row, 1 knit row, 1 purl row, 1 knit row, then *YO, SSK [repeat from * to end of round], 1 knit row, 1 purl row, 1 knit row, 1 purl row.

Did the first half of it on the drive up to visit Craig’s sister and our nephew yesterday, and finished the rest at home today while watching The Scorpion King (man, did I ever need these two days off…).

Next up, my first pair of Monkeys. I started them on August 10th. The yarn is Fearless Fibers Superwash Merino Wool sock yarn, Thoroughbred colorway (it’s mostly shades of brown, but I love how it has a hint of pink here and there). I’m loving knitting with this yarn — it’s so soft and squishy, and I just know it will feel great on my feet when the socks are done. I’m calling them Fearless Monkeys, first because of the yarn, and second because I am fearlessly knitting them two at a time on magic loop.

This has become my favorite technique for socks at the moment. No worrying about making sure I do the same number of repeats on a foot, leg, cuff, etc.! And best of all, both socks are done at the same time — not that I have much trouble with second sock syndrome, but sometimes it takes me a little longer to finish a second sock (Baby Fern – Rib Anklets, I’m looking at you!). Granted, there are some patterns this technique just does not work with — for example, any pattern where you need to shift stitches from one needle to the next to do a decrease or some such thing — but for the Monkeys it seems to be working just fine.

I’ve also started another pair of footies for Mom — no surprise there, since she knew I would be making her some more. Just started them today. But in order to keep some small element of surprise for her, I won’t post a picture here till they’ve been gifted.

Now that I have the feedback on the Baby Fern – Rib socks from my test knitters, I’m tweaking and finalizing the pattern. I’ve also written a second version of it for (wow, you never would have guessed this) two at a time on magic loop. I will be test knitting that version myself, using more of the Patons Stretch Socks yarn (this time in the Olive colorway, so appropriate for the pattern name).

And all of this knitting seems to be an elaborate scheme to avoid working on the set of handwoven placemats I really need to finish (and actually haven’t even started yet). I guess it would be a good idea to quit procrastinating, since I need to have them done before September 13th! (OMG THAT’S ONLY 3 WEEKS FROM NOW!) Yeah, I’ll get them done… but I MUST start them tomorrow.

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After two months + one day, I have finally finished the Baby Fern-Rib Anklets aka Anklets for Meeeee!

(Click photo to see it larger)

I’m really happy with the way they turned out, and I did manage to get both anklets out of one ball of Patons Stretch Socks. I did end up making the second sock 2 pattern repeats shorter. I wouldn’t have had enough yarn otherwise. However, the first sock was a little longer than it needed to be — so I feel fairly confident in saying that if your shoe size is no bigger than a US ladies’ size 8.5, and you’re careful about not letting too much yarn go to waste in the cast-on and bind-off, you can get a pair of anklets from one ball of Patons Stretch Socks as the pattern is written. (I wear a size 9 shoe, but I knit a bit on the tight side and I like my socks snug.) For the record, my second sock (which fits better lengthwise than the first) was knitted with 11 pattern repeats on the instep, up to the start of the short-row heel, 2 pattern repeats on the leg, and 12 rows of ribbing.

  • Pattern: My own, Baby Fern-Rib Anklets, (that’s a Ravelry link, login required) hopefully to be released for sale before the end of September. (test-knitting to be finished, final proofreading, yada yada)
  • Yarn: Patons Stretch Socks, colorway Kelp, 1 ball (with less than a yard leftover!)
  • Needles: US1 Bamboo DPNs, set of 5, 5″
  • Timeframe: Started 6/8/08, finished 8/9/08 (about a month in there was spent working on other projects while these were set aside)
  • Ravelry Projects Link (login required)

Thanks to Bridget and Sandie for test-knitting!

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Well, I have a whopping TWO finished objects to share today. First up, the third Fla-Vor-Ice Cozy, which I will keep for my very own self.

(Click the photo to see a close-up of the stitch pattern.)

  • Yarn: Patons Stretch Socks, Plum (left over from my SOS 08 Summer Socks)
  • Needles: US 2.5 Addi Turbo, 40″ (magic looped, again)
  • Started 8/7/08, finished 8/8/08
  • Pattern Notes: Cast on 30 stitches with a provisional cast-on (started in center). Worked in K3 x P2 ribbing with this weird cablish-crossover thing every 7th row (I was trying to cable without a cable needle without having the instructions in front of me and did it wrong — but it still looks pretty cool and I’m sure it’s some sort of stitch someone already invented but I just don’t know the name of it… WHEW take a breath). After binding off one end, I picked up the stitches from the provisional cast-on and removed the waste yarn (a pain in the butt, must read up on easier provisional cast-ons!) and did the whole thing over again to the other end.
  • Ravelry Project Page: Lynnio’s Fla-Vor-Ice Cozy for Me (login required)

This one turned out to be the longest of the three — in inches as well as length of knitting time (like I said, that provisional cast-on was a pain when picking the stitches back up). Let’s see, I didn’t keep track of the total time, but I was picking up the provisional CO stitches near the beginning of What Not To Wear (around 9 PM) knitted through that, switched the channel to HGTV, kept on knitting through several shows and was finally binding off at 1 AM. That was just for HALF of the project… so figure double the time to do the whole thing. Yeah, way too fiddly and complicated for what it is, but I was experimenting and I like the finished product so I’m OK with it.

And the second (and third) of the FOs: a pair of socks! This is my third pair for Summer of Socks.

(click photo to see it larger)

Lifestyle Socks – Started 7/16/08, finished 8/8/08

  • Pattern: Wendy Knits Toe-Up Slip-Stitch Heel Socks (second smallest size)
  • Yarn: Zitron Lifestyle, colorway 1861 (blue/brown/cream/olive self-striping, 2 balls)
  • Needles: Addi Turbo US 1.5, 40″ magic looping 2 at a time
  • Ravelry Project Page: Lynnio’s Lifestyle Socks (login required)

Because I used a slightly larger needle than the pattern recommended (plus the yarn is on the heavier side of fingering weight), and the foot is stockinette stitch, these turned out to be too loose. So instead of continuing with stockinette stitch on the leg, I switched to 3×3 ribbing. I’m glad I did, otherwise they wouldn’t stay up at all! As it is, you can see the bagginess in the photos. If I were to make these again with the same size needle and similar yarn, I’d make the smallest size.

When I started these, I was hoping to find a spot in the yarn where the striping pattern matched up, so both socks could be striped exactly the same — but I couldn’t find that spot within 10 yards of either end, so I decided they would be fraternal twins. Well, I finally found a spot where they matched up. The toe of one sock matches up with the other sock starting at a spot about halfway up the foot, an inch or so before the gusset increases start. But y’know, it really doesn’t bother me that the stripes don’t match up.

Next up: instead of starting yet another pair of socks as I had originally planned, I’m going to (finally) finish up my Baby Fern-Rib Anklets (the Anklets for Meeeee!). Ravelry friend Bridget (Technoknitter) is test-knitting them for me, and my LYS buddy, Sandie, has already finished test-knitting a pair. Plus, I still need to get started on some handwoven placemats I’ve promised as a raffle prize for a Relay For Life fundraiser on September 13th.

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My friend Diane was due to return to the office from her business trip today, so I figured I’d better have her Fla-Vor-Ice cozy ready for her…

So I started it around 9 PM last night, worked on it for about 30 minutes or so, then finished it in another 45 minutes or so this morning before work. It’s essentially the same recipe as the last one, but this was thinner yarn, so it’s a bit more open/lacy since I used the same size needle (US 4). I used yarn left over from my Spiral Eyelet Socks, since my friend Rose said summery colors would be more appropriate for the Fla-Vor-Ice.

Just for fun, I tried a new (to me) bind-off I recently read about in Knitting Daily. I could have sworn I read that it’s supposed to be stretchy… but it’s not, at least not the way I did it. Maybe I was pulling the yarn too tight (I do have a tendency to knit tightly, especially since the needles were a little bigger than I would have liked for this yarn). It does make a really nice, clean edge, though. (Click on the picture above to see a larger version, it’s the end at the left side of the photo.)

Next up, I’m making one for meeeeee! I’m getting tired of wrapping a paper towel around my Fla-Vor-Ice, especially now that Rose and Diane have these faaaaabulous cozies to use.

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