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Archive for June, 2009

Wow, finished these in record time!

Sprucey3_XL

Sprucey Lucy Socks

  • Pattern: Sprucey Lucy by Wendy D. Johnson
  • Size: Small (58-stitch circumference)
  • Needles: US 0 (2.0mm), Magic Loop 2-at-a-time
  • Yarn: Schaefer Nichole, Greenjeans colorway
  • Techniques: Judy’s Magic Cast-on toe, slip-stitch heel, Russian bind-off (using US 1.5 (2.5mm) needle)
  • Started 6/17/09, finished 6/22/09
  • Link to my Ravelry project page

I knitted these socks as part of the Socks from the Toe Up KAL I mentioned in an earlier post. I loved working on these — loved the pattern, loved the soft and squishy yarn. For the bind-off, I had first tried tubular bind-off (even used a slightly larger needle, US 1.5 (2.5mm), for the 4 prep rows before the bind-off). It looked great… but it was so tight, I really had to force the sock over my heel. And once I got the cuff over my heel, I couldn’t pull it up past my ankle. And I had already bound off both socks and wove in the ends. So I strung some scrap yarn through the cuff several rows before the bind-off, undid the bind-off and ripped back. I redid a couple more rows of the cuff and then finished up with Russian bind-off using a slightly larger needle. Ta-da… perfect fit! Absolutely, perfectly snug. These are probably the best-fitting socks I have right now.

I can’t start the next KAL sock until July 1, so in the meantime I’ve started a pair of socks for the Summer of Socks KAL I’m also participating in. I’ve chosen the pattern Kaibashira (that I’ve had in my Ravelry queue since January 2008) and a ball of TOFUtsies yarn (that I’ve had in my yarn stash since May 2008).

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KnittingFinger

“Why, yes, I have been knitting socks a lot lately. What gave that away?”

A little old crack in my index finger isn’t going to keep me from knitting, nosirree. Band-Aids to the rescue. Last time this happened was last year during either Sock Wars or Summer of Socks. It’s those teeny tiny pointy needles…

Them thar gorgeous socks in the background are my Sprucey Lucy socks using the Schaefer Nichole in the Greenjeans colorway (sooooo soft and squishy). Started them yesterday, and I’m about an inch away from starting the gusset increases in preparation for the heel flap.

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I recently ordered the book Socks from the Toe Up by Wendy D. Johnson (blogmistress of Wendy Knits). The book features more than 20 sock patterns, all toe-up, along with several different toe, heel, and bind-off techniques. Choosing which pattern to knit first was a little tough, but I settled on Lacy Ribs. Within a few days after casting on, I discovered there’s a knitalong (KAL) group on Ravelry for the book… and it just so happens the first KAL sock for June is Lacy Ribs.

LacyRibSocks_XL

Lacy Ribs Socks

  • Pattern: Lacy Ribs by Wendy D. Johnson (from Socks from the Toe Up)
  • Size: Medium (64 stitch circumference)
  • Needles: US 0 (2.0mm), Magic Loop 2-at-a-time
  • Yarn: Cherry Tree Hill Supersock/Wool in the Woods, one of the “lottery” colorways (a mash-up of all the dyes from that day, so there are many varieties of “lottery” colors — this one is a teal/purple blend)
  • Techniques: Judy’s Magic Cast-on toe, slip-stitch heel, Russian bind-off (went up to US 2.5 needle for bind-off)
  • Started 6/5/09, finished 6/16/09
  • Link to my Ravelry project page

This was an easy stitch pattern to memorize — only 2 pattern rows alternated with ribbing. Easy, so it’s somewhat mindless knitting while watching TV, but just interesting enough not to be boring. I had originally started these on US size 1.5 needles, but I was afraid they were coming out too big (especially for such a stretchy pattern), so I ripped them out after finishing the toe and about 1.5 repeats of the pattern, and started over on US size 0 needles. They’re a bit on the loose side, but not too baggy. I probably would have been fine making the small size instead of the medium. This was also the first time I did Russian bind-off. I really liked it and will definitely use it again. I wouldn’t have needed to go up to a US size 2.5 needle for the bind-off, though — I would have been fine going up to a US size 1.5 instead. Still, just a little loose, not so baggy that they’ll fall down. (Plus, it leaves a little room for them to tighten up with washing.)

I’m definitely looking forward to making lots more of the patterns in this book — I love Wendy’s toe-up patterns, especially with the slip-stitch heel. Up next for the June segment of the KAL is Wendy’s Sprucey Lucy pattern (each month, there’s a pattern from the book and one of Wendy’s free patterns to choose from — or to knit both). For Sprucey Lucy, I’ll use one of the yarns I bought at Lamb’s Ear Yarns last weekend, Schaefer Nichole, in the Greenjeans colorway.

SchaeferNichole

Schaefer Nichole, Greenjeans colorway

Another brief crochet interlude…

The doily is finished as well. It’s a little wonky (yes, that’s a technical term) at some spots, but overall not bad for the first one.

PineappleDoilyXL

Petite Pineapple Doily (please excuse the blocking pins)

  • Pattern: Petite Pineapple Doily by Priscilla Hewitt
  • Size 7 steel crochet hook
  • Aunt Lydia’s Crochet Cotton, #10, ecru
  • Started 6/12/09, finished 6/15/09 (even though Squeek got his hind leg caught in the loose thread and ripped out almost an entire round as he ran through the house…yikes)
  • Link to my Ravelry project page

I also took a stab at crocheting a coaster…

Coaster1_XL

Quick & Easy Crocheted Coaster (why, yes, it was)

You can see something is not right below the center hole, all the way out to the edge. I think I forgot the ch2 at the end of the second round. But other than that, “Quick and Easy” is a good name for this one… it’s true.

I’ll definitely be making some more of these coasters — gotta keep trying until I get it right!

So that’s it for the FOs at the moment. You’re sure to see more socks here in the near future, what with the Socks from the Toe Up KAL going on, and Summer of Socks 2009 starting up this weekend!

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Now, I’m not normally too bad about having a bunch of WIPs (works in progress for the uninitiated) around. I generally have 2 or 3 at the most. So, let’s take a quick WIP inventory, shall we?

  • Deep V Sweater (from Erika Knight’s Classic Knits) – started in January
  • Kelly’s Kupkake (prototype made at the end of March; needs retooling)
  • Cell Phone Pouch, Take One (still sitting on my desk after a couple weeks, awaiting felting)
  • Cell Phone Pouch, Take Two (ditto)
  • Lacy Ribs Socks (just started last weekend, a few inches away from being finished)
  • Petite Pineapple Doily (just started 6/12/09 and progressing rapidly)

LacyRibs_WIP_XL

Lacy Ribs Socks – 6/8/09 (they’re much farther along now)

I suppose it’s good that four of the above are pretty much close to finished. That leaves the retooling of the cupcake (which I kind of have figured out in my head, so as long as that doesn’t defy the laws of physics, that one should wrap up pretty easily) and THE SWEATER. I feel like I’ve been working on the sweater way longer than five months. However, seeing “five months” typed out makes it look a lot longer than I thought it would.

I now have a bit more incentive to finish the sweater (oh, I’ve been working on it here and there, but with significant breaks in between): there’s another sweater I feel I just HAVE to make. I just have to make it because… well, I had a dream about it. In my dream, I discovered I just happened to have this finished handknitted (by me) sweater just sitting in the house, that just needed its final blocking (but still looked plenty good enough without it). It had beautifully detailed cabling, and I could tell from the way it looked in the dream that it had to be a Norah Gaughan design (I looooove Norah Gaughan’s designs). It was in a pretty coral-ish color, not overly bright, just soft enough but not too muted.

So after getting some breakfast in me the next morning, I checked my Ravelry queue. Nope, not there. then I checked the patterns I had tagged as favorites (I have over 250 patterns tagged as favorites… fortunately, Ravelry has a search feature for favorites), searching for cardigans and Norah Gaughan. BOOM. There was Kingscot. And even in the same color I dreamed of. Now, the sweater in my dream wasn’t necessarily that exact sweater, but about a 95% match. It had a fit just like Kingscot, with beautiful cabling down the front and buttons at the yoke, but not too clingy at the bottom.

And, of course, because I MUST. PREPARE. NOW. to knit this sweater, I’ve already purchased the pattern. I just need to find a suitable yarn that won’t drain my bank account. The quest begins… more to come later (could be a while, too).

In other news…

After two months in my new stomping grounds in the Lakes Region of New Hampshire, I finally checked out one local yarn shop (LYS) — Lamb’s Ear Yarns in Gilford. It’s a nice little shop, smaller than my “old” LYS, Yarns R Us in Hamburg, PA. I will definitely be going back to Lamb’s Ear again, although I doubt that it will be exclusively my LYS of choice — inventory there seems geared more toward sweaters and colorwork, and there’s only a small selection of sock yarn (all good sock yarns, too), just not nearly the wide variety Kim has in Hamburg. From a customer service standpoint, though, Lamb’s Ear is excellent. The owner, Sue, was very helpful in showing me her inventory and knitted samples around the shop. I ended up leaving with three beautiful skeins of sock yarn, and some yarn ideas brewing for the dream sweater mentioned above.

I also plan to check out Patternworks in Center Harbor, and The Elegant Ewe in Concord… but probably not until later next month (too many trips to Lowe’s sucking away the yarn budget).

Hopefully soon I will have a finished pair of socks and a doily to blog about. Stay tuned!

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When I first saw this project pop up on Ravelry last year, I was completely smitten by the phabulousness of it. And I was even more tickled when the pattern for it was posted later on.

This phriendly little guy is the creation of Joan De Lurio. And there are quite a few Ravelers out there as thrilled as me that she has shared the pattern with us.

He’s such a quick knit. And even while knitting up the body, before he had a snout, eyes, limbs, anything — I could already see his phantabulous phanatic physique developing.

There are several people I know who are Phillies phans, but no way was I going to make one of these for each of them. I chose to knit this one up phor my boss, Chris — partly because I won’t be able to attend the annual outing to the Phillies this year with the gang from the office. So this guy can maybe go in my place. I hope his phabulous Phanatic tushie doesn’t take up too much room in the car.

PPP_quadview

Phun Phur Phanatic… phantastic!

  • Pattern: Phun Phur Phanatic by Joan De Lurio (Ravelry pattern page here)
  • Yarns: Lion Suede (olive), Lion Fun Fur (lime, sapphire), Bernat Satin (admiral), Bernat Satin Sport (rouge), Caron Simply Soft (white, soft pink). Note: since the red yarn I had was sportweight, I used it doubled even when the pattern called for a single strand (except for embroidering the “P” on the jersey).
  • Needles: US size 8 (5.0mm), Susan Bates Silvalume DPNs
  • Notions: Eyes from Yarns R Us, Hamburg PA; baby shoes ordered from crscraft.com; plastic pellets and fiberfill also ordered from crscraft.com (incidentally, they show a little red baseball cap in their catalog that would be perfect for this — but I wasn’t about to place a whole separate order with CR’s just for the cap, and I like how the knitted one turned out)
  • Started 5/21/09, finished 6/4/09… and then the cap 6/5/09
  • My Ravelry project page

PPP_HatBackCloseupXLOne change I made was adding a baseball cap (turned backwards, of course). Craig kept telling me he’s just not the Phanatic without a cap. And now that he has a cap, I gotta admit he was right — the cap really adds that finishing touch. After devising my own pattern for the cap, I found out another Raveler had already done the same thing — although we ended up with two different cap patterns.

Here’s what I did for the cap (I used 2 strands of red yarn since my red yarn was sportweight instead of worsted):

Brim: Using Judy’s Magic Cast-on, Figure 8 Cast-on, or Turkish Cast-on, cast on 8 stitches (4 on each needle). Round 1: [K1, KFB, KFB, K1] twice. Round 2: [K1, KFB, K2, KFB, K1] twice. Round 3: [K1, KFB, K4, KFB, K1] twice. Round 4: [K1, KFB, K6, KFB, K1] twice. Round 5: [K1, KFB, K8, KFB, K1] twice. Round 6: Knit all stitches. Bind off using 3-needle bind-off. Leave tail for stitching onto cap later.

Cap: (Worked bottom up) Cast on 28 stitches. Join in the round and knit till hat is approx. 2/3 of total height (about 6 rows). Decrease round: [K2, K2tog] around. Next round: Knit all stitches. Decrease round #2: [K1, K2tog] around. Last decrease round: K2tog around. Cut yarn, thread through remaining stitches, pull tight and secure on inside of cap. Weave in ends.

PPP_HatSideXLFinishing: Attach bound-off edge of brim to bound-off edge of cap (centered on the join of the cap cast-on is a good spot, since that will be pointing downward and less conspicuous) using mattress stitch with the yarn tail from the brim. Using one strand of white yarn, embroider a P centered above the brim using chain stitch or backstitch. Stuff cap with fiberfill and sew to head, just behind unibrow. (Cap should have the brim pointing toward the back, for authenticity!) Be sure to sew all the way around the cap edge, including under the brim.

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That would be “finished objects” and “partially finished objects”. First up, the finished ones.

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Now that my cousin Jill has received her socks, I can share them here. This is the Jaywalker pattern by Grumperina — since these were made for Jill, I’m calling them Jillwalkers. Heh.

  • Pattern: Jaywalker by Grumperina (that thar is the Ravelry link… login required)
  • Size: 76-stitch circumference, Ladies US shoe size 7 (now everyone knows your shoe size, Jill… LOL)
  • Yarn: ONline Supersocke 100 Circle Color (wool/nylon), color 1057 (yellow/gray self-striping)
  • Needle: US 0 (2.0mm) circular, magic loop 2 at a time method
  • Started 3/29/09, finished 5/6/09
  • Link to Ravelry project page

If the pattern looks a little familiar, that’s because I’ve made these socks before (as have TONS of other knitters), except in the previous incarnation they were made as anklets and the striping was done manually using two different colors of yarn.

Next up, finished object number two: a crocheted granny square for my friend Denise, who is collecting them from her friends so she can put them all together into an afghan.

GrannySquare_XL

One thing I have to say about crochet (again) is that it is SO FAST! I can’t believe how fast I cranked this puppy out. Great use of the leftover Toconao, too. I so love the yarn, hope Denise does too!

And now for the partially finished stuff… I’m also working on some cell phone pouches. I’m making several to try out some different ideas. Although the knitting is done on these two, they are PFOs because they still need to be felted and finished with some sort of fasteners.

CellPhone1_FrontPreFelt

Cell Phone Pouch, Take One

  • Pattern: My own improvisation, basically constructed in the same manner as a toe-up sock. Used a slip-stitch pattern like on a sock heel flap for extra cushiness.
  • Yarn: Noro Yuzen (wool/mohair/silk blend), color number/name unknown
  • Needle: US 6 (4.0mm) circular, magic loop method used
  • Size: Based on the size of my cell phone (LG Chocolate), sized a little larger to allow for felting (basically, guessed at size)
  • Knitting started & finished 5/26/09
  • Link to Ravelry project page

CellPhone2_openprefelt

Cell Phone Pouch, Take Two

  • Pattern: Pretty similar to Take One above, but I knitted a garter stitch strap closure instead of a flap, and also a garter stitch strap & tab at the sides to attach to purse strap, belt loop, etc.
  • Yarn: Araucania Toconao (merino wool), color 401 blue-green (just couldn’t keep my hands off those Toconao leftovers after making the granny square)
  • Needle: US 6 (4.0mm) circular, magic loop method used (again)
  • Size: Highly scientific method of inserting my cell phone while knitting and guessing whether it looked right — I made it just a hair wider than the first one, but kept the length of the pouch part the same
  • Knitting started & finished 5/27/09
  • Link to Ravelry project page

So that’s it for now. I have another cell phone pouch to make (Take Three), but not until after I felt the first two and see how they turn out. I also have a Secret Project I’m working on (a gift)… that I can finally proceed further on now that I’ve received an order of some supplies I needed for it. However, with it being a Secret Project, I can’t really say more than that here in “public” (although my friends who are on Ravelry can see it listed in my projects).

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