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Just off the needles, a Double Heelix double feature!

Double Heelix socks, first pair

  • Pattern: Double Heelix by Jeny Staiman (from Knitty, First Fall 2011)
  • Yarn: Alpaca with a Twist Socrates, color #1019 & #3018
  • Needles: U.S. 1.5 (2.5mm), used magic loop technique
  • Size made: Medium (64-stitch circumference after instep decreases)
  • Started 7/9/11, finished 7/22/11
  • Link to my Ravelry project page (login required)

As you can tell by looking at the photo, these came out too loose. Not surprised, since 64-stitch socks on 2.5mm needles always come out too big for me. But I took a chance since the heel is a unique construction and I was expecting these to be tighter around the ankle (but for me, they weren’t). I alternated the two colors in single-row stripes on the toes, and the last inch before the cuff. Each cuff is a different color. Also switched up the foot and leg colors from one sock to the other. (Yeah, it will look like I’m wearing mis-matched socks. Heh.)

Double Heelix Socks, second pair

  • Pattern, yarn, needles same as above.
  • Size made: Small (60-stitch circumference after instep decreases)
  • Link to my Ravelry project page (login required)

Even though I scaled down to the small size for the second pair, these are still a little too loose. But not unwearable by any means. Hard to tell in the photo, but I alternated each color in single-row stripes on the foot and leg. Each cuff is a different color.

I really enjoyed knitting this pattern (obviously, since I did it twice). It can get a bit fiddly at the beginning when you’re working the heel, since there are 4 strands of yarn going. But just pause once in a while to detangle, and you’ll be fine.

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So, this isn’t a new FO, but I finally got around to taking a photo of it.

I Drank The Kool-Aid

I’m referring to this one as “I Drank The Kool-Aid” because there were no less than five of my coworkers knitting it at the same time as me. It had definitely become a mini-trend at the office. A couple of my coworkers have even knit more than one in different yarns! For some silly reason, it took me more than three months to weave in two little yarn ends and wash/block it. For yet another silly unknown reason, it took me nearly a year after finishing the knitting to snap a photo of the thing. (Well, I did make a miserably failed attempt at taking a pic of myself with the cell phone one day when I wore it to work last fall.) If you do knit this project with the Firefly yarn, be aware that it takes every last bit of the two balls of yarn called for. I had about a six- to eight-inch tail at my cast-on edge, and the same after binding off. In fact, I have heard of several Patternworks customers needing to dip into a third ball of yarn in order to finish – so be safe and get a third ball, especially if you typically end up using more yardage than a pattern calls for.

And now, we move on down to the feet…

Jaytrekkers

  • Pattern: Jaywalker by Grumperina
  • Yarn: Trekking XXL, color #80 (faux-isle self patterning yarn with pinks, purples, grays and browns)
  • Needle: U.S. 1 (2.25mm), Clover Takumi 5″ long DPNs (AKA overgrown toothpicks)
  • Started 2/14/11, finished 7/3/11
  • Link to my Ravelry project page (login required)

The pattern may look sort of familiar – you’ve seen it on here twice before. This is the pattern I used for my second-ever pair of socks and also for a pair of socks made for my cousin Jill. They turned out to be a little snug over the ankles as Jadee reminded me on Plurk, but I can still get them on my feet. If I do knit these yet again (which I just might, I love the pattern) I will probably use U.S. 1.5 (2.5mm) needles just to have a wee bit extra room in the ankle. It wasn’t a problem with the first pair I made, since they’re (duh) anklets. (And damn, now I’m really hoping that Jill’s weren’t too tight! She does have smaller feet than me, so hopefully hers were OK.) It took me a while to finish these, since I knit the first sock and about half of the second sock almost exclusively on breaks at work (the rest was mostly done during long car rides). Cast-ons and kitchenering the toes were also done at home.

Recently off the needles – but not finished – is a cowl design for work. Not finished yet because it needs buttons, so I will be shopping for some this week. More on that later. Still on the needles – but finally more than halfway done – is a super secret project for a friend. My motivation to finish that (besides finishing a project for a friend) within the next month is the KnitGirllls 5K Stash Dash. (I’m at 2,692 meters knit… just a little over halfway there! Not sure if I’ll hit 5K by the deadline, but hopefully I will be close.) A perpetual item on the needles is my sock yarn blankie – I really should pick that up again, especially considering I recently received a little care package in the mail from my Pennsylvania knitting peeps, Cathy and Denise.

Sock Yarn Scraps from Cathy & Denise (miss you both too!)

And considering I haven’t had any socks on the needles since I finished the Jaywalkers on July 3rd (gasp!), I shall be casting on the Double Heelix socks from Knitty shortly. Tonight, in fact. I have two skeins of Socrates (#1019 denim and #3018 berry) and my ball winder sitting a few feet away on the sofa, beckoning me.

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OK, this lovely FO has a slightly sordid backstory involving a flagrant disregard for swatching.

My neck in front of the fish tank -- you can see Angel in the background. Click photo to embiggen.

My neck in front of the fish tank -- you can see Angel in the background. Click photo to embiggen.

I started off Sunday evening (Oct. 26) by looking at the gauge on my just-finished mitts (knitted on size 6 needles) and guessed at what the gauge might be on size 8 needles for the neckwarmer, deciding to cast on 125 stitches. Fortunately, it was a fast knit. In just a few hours, I was at least halfway through, maybe a little more. I further impressed myself Monday night (Oct. 27) when, while knitting the LAST row, I realized that halfway through the thing I missed one of the cable crossovers. My first thought was to just put that part to the back where it could hide under my hair (or coat collar). But then I thought, “Nah, I can drop those stitches right down to where I need to fix it and reknit one column of cables.” And I did. And man, was I ever impressed with myself!

I wasn’t so impressed on Tuesday (Oct. 28) when I realized I had knit the thing waaaaay too big. Sorry, no photographic evidence of that exists. But I think you can get an idea of how much too big when I tell you that I re-cast on with only 95 stitches, removing 6 cable columns from the circumference. Each cable column is around an inch wide. (Yeah, that’s 6 inches, in case you’re feeling mathematically challenged today. 6 inches removed from a thing that goes around one’s neck. Just a bit big, no?) I decided it was more important that it fit around my neck rather than fit loosely over my head so as not to screw up my hair (as if my hair wouldn’t screw itself up on its own anyway).

So after starting over on Oct. 28, knitting up a new neckwarmer while unraveling the old one (that’s the second time I’ve done that sort of thing — first time was the Baby Fern Rib Anklets), and finishing the new one off on Oct. 31 in our hotel room in Wellsboro on our way to visit Craig’s aunt and uncle in Potter County, I had a brand new neckwarmer that more or less fit (I really could have taken out one or two more cable columns, but this is close enough) and came in handy while going for a walk along the Pine Creek with Craig’s aunt on Nov. 1.

Of course, right after I finished it we had a brief warm spell again, but now it’s starting to get cold enough again for me to put it to good use.

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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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