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Archive for October, 2008

Wow, these went FAST!

  • Pattern: Fetching by Cheryl Niamath (from Knitty, Summer 2006)
  • Yarn: Araucania Toconao (colorway 401, blue-green, less than one skein), purchased at Yarns R Us, Hamburg PA
  • Time: Started 10/25/08 (in the afternoon), finished 10/26/08 (around the same time in the afternoon)
  • Needles: Addi Turbo US 6, 40″ circular (yes, I made these 2-at-a-time on one needle, for the most part); Susan Bates Quicksilver US 6 DPNs (for the thumbs)
  • Modification: I just did a regular bind-off at the top instead of the picot bind-off. Something was off with my count, and the picots weren’t lining up. When I read “bind off 5 stitches” to me that involves actually knitting 6 stitches — the 5 bound-off stitches being the passed-over stitches taken off the needle. But that put my picots one stitch to the left of where they were supposed to be. So after undoing half of the bind-off twice, I just decided to do a regular bind-off. I’m not 100% happy with it, but I’m happy enough. If I were to make these again I would try the picot bind-off and get it to line up properly with the ribbing.
  • Ravelry project page (login required)
  • Oh — almost forgot to mention — I used the cabling without a cable needle technique as described on Grumperina’s blog to do the cable stitches. Way simpler to deal with than an extra needle!

I love, love, LOVE this yarn — at least so far. We’ll see how it wears. But it’s beautiful when new and feels wonderfully soft. Kim had a sample ball at the shop this summer as part of a “yarn tasting” (I think it was after she came back from one of the yarn shows). I bought two skeins; used less than one of them for the mitts, so I plan to make a more-or-less matching neckwarmer to go with them, incorporating the cabling and 4×1 ribbing.

This pattern is super-easy. Very simple to follow (except for my misunderstanding of the bind-off, as noted above) and extremely quick to knit. I have never made any knitted handwear before, and I can definitely see gloves with actual fingers in my future. Possibly near future… it’s getting colder, and fast.

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As promised, here’s the pattern I used for the class I taught on toe-up socks 2-at-a-time on magic loop!

  • This pattern is written for knitting 2 socks at a time on one long circular needle (magic loop). I recommend a needle at least 32” long – but I prefer a 40” circular needle for magic loop.
  • Pattern features a stockinette stitch foot, short-row heel with no wraps, a short ribbed leg, and rolled stockinette cuff. Pattern assumes you know Judy’s Magic Cast On (or other toe-up cast-on) — or follow the link provided to learn how.
  • Two sizes are offered for circumference: 0-12 months is approx. 4” sock circumference, unstretched; 12-36 months is approx. 5.25” sock circumference, unstretched. (The pattern calls for Cascade Fixation, which is very stretchy; the pattern is designed to work with the stretchiness.) To further adjust the fit of the sock, a sizing chart is offered in the pattern, listing child’s shoe size, approximate age, and suggested sock foot length.
  • Notions: long circular needle with a flexible cable (size US 5/3.75mm), stitch marker(s), darning/tapestry needle

If that sounds good to you, and you’d like to make these, go ahead and download the pattern (PDF format). Enjoy!

P.S. Here are the other two pairs of socks — the sample pair I had partway done for the class (blue), and the pair I started during class (pink).

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Sweet Sock Wars death. Click to embiggen.

Sweet Sock Wars death. Click to embiggen.

Remember way back, oh, 4-5 months ago when I was posting about Sock Wars III? You may also remember that it ended pretty early with a whole lot of sock warriors remaining to play, and many continued on (it’s still winding down, with the last 10 or so warriors alive and kicking… er, knitting). I chose not to continue playing, as did my assassin, Caitlin; however, she said she would still knit the pair of socks that were slated to “kill” me, but it would take a while due to her schedule (plus, she had to start over from scratch).

I had kind of put it out of mind most of the time since then, but every so often I would wonder how Caitlin was coming along on the socks (although I certainly would never dream of nagging her about it… I could wait patiently for however long it took her to knit them). Imagine my surprise when I returned home today after teaching a sock class, to find a package from Caitlin waiting for me in the mailbox! As soon as I got in the door, I had to open it. Let me tell you, these socks were so worth the wait. They’re gorgeous! I love the color(s), love the self-striping yarn (Schoeller + Stahl Sockina Cotton, colorway #5 — she thoughtfully included the label and some scrap yarn), love the chocolate bars and cantaloupe-scented soap, all in a beautiful gift box! (Why yes, I am wearing the socks right now… haven’t eaten the chocolate yet, saving that for after dinner.)

Death Socks modeled both in context (with a glimpse of fish tank) and on their own.

See, they’re just gorgeous. Don’t you agree? And best of all… a perfect fit!

Thanks, Caitlin — you rock!

In other news… I taught my first-ever knitting class today. A pair of baby/toddler socks, knit two at a time, toe-up on magic loop (pattern forthcoming). I think the class went well, although I’m sure I have plenty of room for improvement in my teaching. Only two students, both of whom I fortunately already know from hanging out at the yarn shop (or, “yarn bar” as my husband calls it). I did the cooking show trick and had another pair of socks already started and knit up to just before starting the heel — so I could be sure to have time to teach the heel technique in class. Even with something small like baby/toddler socks, it’s hard to get that far along in just 3 hours, with the teaching and chatting (especially when you’re knitting two at a time).

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As expected, I slightly overestimated the amount of knitting time I would have this past weekend. However, I did meet my goal of finishing the Baby Fern Rib Socks (Ravelry link, login required). I was determined to stay up Saturday night until they were done, including weaving in ends (around 11:00 PM, maybe a little after).

Baby Fern Rib Socks – click photos to embiggen!

  • Pattern: Baby Fern Rib Socks (2-at-a-time magic loop version), my own pattern — Ravelry Link
  • Started 9/17/08, finished 10/4/08
  • Yarn: Patons Stretch Socks, Olive colorway, used about 3/4 each of 2 balls.
  • Needles: US 0 Addi Turbo, 40″ circular

I did have quite a bit of knitting time, but a long hike and geocaching took up all of Saturday afternoon between lunch and dinner. I managed to squeeze in some knitting time Friday night, Saturday before and after breakfast, after dinner Saturday night, and a little bit on Sunday morning. Since I wouldn’t have had much time to work on Billy’s sweater after finishing the socks, I decided to work on my Fearless Monkeys (Ravelry link again, login required) for the wee bit of knitting time I had before breakfast and before and after a hike on Sunday morning — didn’t even get through a whole pattern repeat on those, but then it’s something like a 14-row pattern repeat!

Pardon me while I take a brief detour from the knitting content… Turnout for this retreat was extremely low compared to previous retreats, only about 25 people (normally there’s 60-75 people, a statement on the current economy and/or gas prices, I suppose). My best friend Pam (of the Corn Snake Socks) was scheduled to lead two activities on Saturday afternoon that I’d signed up for: first, a hike up Bald Mountain, and second, Geocaching. Now, it had been 23-24 years since I’d last hiked up Bald Mountain — at that time, I was a teenage camper. The big difference between Bald Mountain in the mid-80s and Bald Mountain now is that there is a wind farm up there. Clean energy is a good thing and all, but I’m sad to see the windmills up there since I had always felt secluded from civilization whenever I was on the top of the mountain. Plus, windmills totally FREAK. ME. OUT. Especially up close like that. Especially when I’m walking along the access road right under the spinning windmill blades of DOOM, seeing their huge shadows swooping around me. But I had to get up there and take pictures of that whole bunch of freakiness that is the wind farm. Unfortunately, I have no pictures of Bald Mountain pre-windmills. But other than the windmills and access road, it looks pretty much the same: all rocky, with scrawny little white birches and scrub oak, and totally covered with wild blueberry bushes. The blueberries were always the highlight of a hike to Bald Mountain during a week at camp in the summertime.

Scary-ass freakiness that is the wind farm

Scary-ass freakiness that is the wind farm atop Bald Mountain near Wilkes-Barre, PA

After returning from the hike, we had a short break before heading out for geocaching. Pam and I were joined by another woman, Dolores. Since we had a limited amount of time, and this was the first time Dolores and I were trying geocaching, we opted to only search for one cache site, the one farthest away from the camp lodge. I had a ball playing with the GPS unit, and we did find the cache. Hey, it’s really just an excuse to go for another hike!

Sunday morning’s hike was mostly on trails I was familiar with. For a large chunk of it, we hiked along the old railroad bed (which really just looks like a rarely-used, mostly-grass-covered road, no railroad ties anymore) and ended up hiking to the edge of the camp property (which edge, I have no idea). A little more hiking than I had bargained for on a Sunday morning, but fun nonetheless.

So now, it’s back to the usual, working knitting sleeping eating breathing boring crap that is not camp. I will miss it.

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The Lake at Bear Creek Camp

The Lake at Bear Creek Camp

Well, it’s time to head off for a nice, relaxing weekend away at camp. It’s the same camp I went to for one week every summer from about 5th grade through 11th grade, with my 3 closest friends. The trip this weekend is for Wild Women Weekend, which a women’s retreat. There’s the “wild” stuff — various hikes, low ropes, high ropes, rock-climbing wall, geocaching, and boating (if the weather cooperates) — and there’s the “mild” stuff — craft and cooking classes, health and beauty workshops, reflexology, yoga (although that sometimes gets a little beyond mild), and stories by the campfire.

The last couple times I went, I signed up to participate in several different activities. This time, it’s all about the relaxation. Well, I do plan on hiking — maybe a night hike on Friday and a longer hike on Saturday — but other than that, my time will be spent knitting, reading, and socializing.

Camp knitting rounded up on my craft room desk

Camp knitting rounded up on my craft room desk (the violet and Miracle-Gro are staying home)

So I’ve decided that the knitting I’m taking along will be my current Baby Fern Rib Socks-in-progress, along with materials to (finally) start a baby sweater for nephew Billy. Yeah, I bought the pattern and yarn for it back in freakin’ January or something crazy like that. It definitely wasn’t any later than February, but I’m pretty sure it was January. I might take the Fearless Monkeys along as well just in case I need an alternate project to work on. (I’m probably seriously overestimating the amount of knitting time I will have available or will be able to tolerate nonstop.) I am really hoping I can at least finish the Baby Fern Rib Socks this weekend. I’ll be even happier if I manage to get Billy’s sweater started.

I swear there will be a new FO of some sort in my next post.

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