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Posts Tagged ‘wendy knits’

Shocking, I know.

OnHold1_XL

On-Hold Socks

  • Pattern: On-Hold Socks by Wendy D. Johnson (from the book, Socks from the Toe Up)
  • Size: Medium (66-stitch circumference)
  • Needles: US 0 (2.0mm), Magic Loop 2-at-a-time
  • Yarn: Cascade Heritage Paints, color 9872 (shades of blue ranging from dark slate to navy)
  • Techniques: Judy’s Magic Cast-on toe, slip-stitch heel, Russian bind-off (used US 1.5 (2.5mm) needle for bind-off)
  • Started 7/2/09, finished 7/21/09
  • Link to my Ravelry project page

This is definitely a pattern you need to pay attention to. While I didn’t have any major mistakes that required serious frogging, tinking, or ripping back in general, there were a couple of times when I had to either tink* back a whole row (or close to it) or pick up a stitch a couple rows down where I forgot to do a yarnover. Learning how to fix mistakes in your knitting without having to undo several entire rows is a valuable skill to have in your bag of tricks. Not something I’d want to do on a complicated, open lacework piece — because it would be really hard to avoid making it look totally awful — but for something small and less complicated like these socks it’s pretty handy.

Next on the list is some gift knitting, so no blogging about that until the items are gifted (and, um, I have to actually start them first). But there will probably be another pair of socks on the needles in August for the next monthly installment of the Socks from the Toe Up KAL. At least that should be bloggable!

*For my non-knitting, blog-reading friends, here’s a vocabulary lesson: “tink” is “knit” spelled backwards. Tinking is undoing your knitting one stitch at a time by un-knitting it, as if you were playing a video of your knitting in reverse. Oh, and “frogging” is when it’s so far gone you just have to “rippit”. Srsly. I am not making this up. These are Official Knitting Terms.

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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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I thought of making a stretchy lace headband out of Cascade Fixation a while ago… and after gutting our upstairs bathroom for renovation this weekend — with hair hanging in my eyes and sticking to my schvetty face (hair not quite long enough to stay in a ponytail) — I finally sat down to make one on Memorial Day.

I already knew I wanted to use Wendy Knits’ Summer 2008 Sock pattern for the lace. I made the socks last year, and knew the stitch pattern was naturally stretchy. Combine that with a stretchy, cotton/elastic yarn like Cascade Fixation, and you have the makings of a very stretch piece of knitting perfect for a headband.

So the first one knitted up really quick on Memorial Day — afternoon/evening knitting while watching the Bones marathon on TNT. Sadly, though, it turned out a hair (har-dee-har) looser than I wanted it to be. Still functional and not too loose, but I wanted it just a bit more snug. (I even knit a gauge swatch, in the round, but at a mini circumference, to figure out the math. I think the larger size amplified the stretchiness.)

HeadbandTakeOne_XL

This was the first attempt. click to embiggen.

So I did some more math and cast on with 12 fewer stitches, and also knitted one less repeat of the 3-row pattern. BINGO! That did the trick. Just a few hours later, I had Take Two finished and it fits perfectly.

Headband_XLzoomout

Second attempt – much better!

  • Pattern: Summer 2008 Sock by Wendy D. Johnson, Wendy Knits (used 3-row pattern sequence only)
  • Size: Approx. 14.5″ circumference unstretched, 21″ fully stretched out.
  • Yarn: Cascade Fixation, approx. 20 yards.
  • Needles: US size 4 (3.5mm), used magic loop technique on one long circular needle.
  • Started & finished 5/26/09 (just a few hours of knitting).
  • Link to Ravelry project page

General instructions:
Cast on 76 stitches loosely, and/or using a stretchy cast-on (I used long-tail cast-on). Join in a circle, being careful not to twist. Work two rounds of K1 P1 ribbing. Work 3-row Summer 2008 Sock lace pattern 3 times, then work rounds 1 and 2 of lace pattern (11 rounds total of lace pattern). Work two rounds of K1 P1 ribbing. Bind off using your favorite stretchy method (I used Elizabeth Zimmermann’s sewn bind-off). Weave in ends and you’re all set!

Please note: Stitch count given in instructions is based on using Cascade Fixation, which is a VERY stretchy (unbelievably stretchy), DK-weight cotton/elastic yarn. If you are using a different yarn that is finer or thicker, and/or not as stretchy, you may need to adjust your stitch count. Measure around your head snugly with a tape measure, around the part where you will wear the headband. Work up a swatch in the round following the instructions above, but with a 32-stitch cast-on. When finished, flatten the swatch on a firm surface, and measure the length while stretching the swatch as much as you can (really, really stretch it). Multiply that measurement by two (to get the circumference). Do some math: 32 divided by whatever number you got for your circumference. That will be the stitches per inch when stretched. Multiply that number by the snug measurement around your head in inches. That’s the approximate number you need for your cast-on. For your cast-on, you need an even number, preferably one that when divided by two is still an even number — so round your number DOWN to the nearest number that meets those criteria.

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Wow, I feel like I was working on these for-freaking-ever! But they’re finally done.

  • Pattern: Wendy D. Johnson’s Summer 2008 Socks
  • Yarn: Patons Stretch Socks (colorway Plum), about 1.5 balls’ worth
  • Needles: Addi Turbo US 0, 40″ circular (magic loop technique, one sock at a time)
  • Time: Cast on 7/3/08, finished 7/27/08
  • Size: 8″ circumference version; to fit shoe size US 9 Ladies
  • For those on Ravelry, here’s the project page (login required)

I really love this yarn. It’s comfy, stretchy, soft, pretty… I hope Patons will make it in a wider variety of colors. I definitely want to try the “olive” colorway, too. The pattern was fun to knit — super-easy to memorize (only 3 pattern rows, and two of those are knit and purl!) — and I finally learned a toe-up flap heel that doesn’t require picking up stitches. Makes the heel fit really well, I think.

The one thing I was awfully skeptical about while knitting these was all the biasing and twisting going on. All the SSKs make the pattern move in a spiral around the leg — which ordinarily isn’t so bad, but in this case it made the fabric spiral along with it. During my little photo shoot of about 10 minutes, the socks had already started twisting around my feet. I thought for sure I wouldn’t be able to stand it and that I’d only wear them occasionally (I wasn’t about to rip anything out after spending more than three weeks on them). Well, I wore them to work for the first time on Tuesday, and know what? The twisty stuff didn’t bother me one bit. I’m sure they were twisting all around in my shoes (I could see the heel had slipped almost the whole way around to the side on both feet), but all I felt was nice, comfy, hand-knit socks. (You can bet regular old store-bought socks would have been annoying me all day if they had been twisting around like that! Especially those seams on the top of the toes… why oh why do they make them like that?!)

So, now I have another set of needles empty for the next project… I’m still working on my Lifestyle Socks, 2-at-a-time on magic loop. Plus I still have the second Baby Fern – Rib Anklet to finish (33 Ravelers have already added it to their queues — so excited about that!). And, of course, I still need to do the final steps on super-secret-Mom’s-birthday project. But, of course, I have now contracted startitis and will need to cast on a new pair of socks this weekend, probably Monkey, because I’m dying to try the Fearless Fibers sock yarn I bought several months ago.

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How, you ask? Well, simply knitting two socks at the same time on one needle is apparently all it takes. Yup, my co-workers now think I am a complete crackpot after I whipped these puppies out at lunchtime on Thursday. (They only thought I was a partial crackpot before that.)

Not too long ago, I bought the book 2-At-A-Time Socks by Melissa Morgan-Oakes. One of my goals this summer for Summer of Socks was to learn this technique. I’m not using any of the patterns in the book yet. I wanted to use a self-striping yarn in plain stockinette and I wanted to make toe-up socks. I could understand the 2-at-a-time instructions well enough just reading through them (since I’m already familiar with magic loop in general) that I thought I could do toe-up just as well on my own using the book as reference if I get stuck anywhere. The pattern I’m using is Wendy Johnson’s Toe Up Slip Stitch Heel Sock. So far, it’s working just fine.

You see, it’s really nowhere near as hard as it looks. If you can knit one sock at a time on one big circular needle, it’s just as easy to do two at the same time. No kidding. (You just have to make sure, of course, that you have a long enough needle — at least 40″ in my opinion. Yes, size matters. Ha.)

I’m really liking the look of the socks so far, even if they are fraternal twins (same yarn colorway, same pattern, but the stripes don’t match up sock-to-sock; term also used to describe socks made from the exact same yarn but each one is a different pattern — or, two socks that look generally alike but not necessarily identical). It’s a self-striping yarn. All that patterning you see in the photo is all due to the patterning in the yarn itself, all I’m doing is knitting along. Wherever you see a color change, it’s all right there in the same strand of yarn. The thing with self-striping yarn is that you can’t always see what the whole length of it looks like just by looking at the wound-up ball of yarn. Sometimes, there’s a little color surprise waiting for you inside. When I bought the yarn, I thought it was just blues, browns and cream. I was just tickled to find some olive green in there when I started knitting it up. I love me some olive green. Goes with my eyes. (Not that my feet will be getting anywhere in the vicinity of my eyes all that often.)

The yarn is one that’s been in my stash for several months now. I picked it up at Yarns R Us shortly after I started knitting again in December/January. It’s Zitron Lifestyle, and it looks to be pretty much the same colors and patterning as 2 balls of Zitron Trekking XXL I bought shortly after. I wonder if the Trekking has that same beautiful olive green hiding in it…

As if I didn’t already have enough knitting books (and, specifically, sock knitting books), I picked up another sock book at Yarns R Us this afternoon (got off work early, yeah!). This one is The Little Box Of Socks by Charlene Schurch and Beth Parrott. Quite an ingenious bit of packaging, it is. Instead of a book, it literally is a little box of socks (well, sock patterns — you gotta knit the socks yerself!). The box has magnets embedded in the lid flap and box side, which hold it closed but is still easy enough to open when you want to. And inside are all these individual laminated pattern cards for something like 15 different socks. So cute and clever! I want to make nearly every sock that’s in this thing.

But hey, now I’ll know how to knit two socks at once and can get to working on those 15 patterns just that much faster.

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Well, the first Summer 2008 Sock is finished. Considering I started the first sock over a 3-day weekend and it took me until this past Friday to finish, and I only just finished the toe increases on the second sock a few minutes ago, I’m not confident that I’ll have this pair done in time to enter the second biweekly drawing. Looks like maybe I’ll have two pairs to enter for the third drawing. My next pair of socks will definitely be simple ones! Maybe even just basic stockinette.

I managed to stop in at the LYS, Yarns R Us, for a few minutes yesterday before golfing with Mom (and getting a mega sunburn on my arms and chest/neck area). Kim had ONline sock yarn on sale for nearly half price so I picked up a couple balls. It’s the self-striping Supersocke 100 Cotton Summer Color, the same kind I used for my Spiral Eyelet Socks but in different colorways, so it will lend itself well to simple patterns or stockinette. I think I’ll have to try something from the 2-At-A-Time Socks book by Melissa Morgan-Oakes next and learn that technique.

Still plugging away on the can’t-blog-about-it-yet-secret-birthday-gift-for-Mom project, too.

And those Anklets for Meeeee! are still hanging out in my knitting bag — I managed to knock out a couple more pattern repeats on the foot of the second sock this weekend. Just a few more and I can start the heel on that one.

I think I’m getting over my fear of having too many WIP at once… it might be nice to have a variety of things to choose from to work on. But I do still have this nagging feeling that if I get too many more WIP started, there will be that many more projects with a chance of never getting finished. Yikes, I need discipline!

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OK, so I only have three WIP at the moment… which is like nothing for many knitters, but for me it’s a lot. I’ve never had more than two WIP at a time.

The Anklets for Meeeee! are still hanging out in my knitting bag, getting a little attention for a pattern repeat or two each week on the second anklet.

I’m still plugging away on the first Summer 2008 Sock. I only started it on July 3, but it feels like I’ve been working on it for so much longer. I’m nearing the end of the first sock, though — I have 3.5″ done on the leg. I’d like to do about 5″-5.5″ before starting the ribbing. I hammered out a ton of knitting on this over the three-day weekend, but since I hit the leg it’s been going just a little bit slower. It’s the purl and lace rounds that suck up the time, for sure.

The third project I have going is one I can’t blog about yet — it’s Mom’s birthday present. I already hinted to her that she’s getting something knitted from me (duh) but she doesn’t know what it is. My LYS knitting buddies know what it is, though! (And if you’re on Ravelry, you can see it on my project page.)

I’ll need to get going on the knitted Christmas gifts soon, too, if I hope to have them all done in time. I can’t believe the year is halfway over already. Time flies when you’re knitting… a lot!

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