Friday, November 30, 2007

Following the pattern

I'm going to be busy today so I thought I'd get my posting done early. It helps that I also have a project finished early this morning.
uzume finished
Pattern: Uzume
Yarn: Trekking XXL
Needles: 2.25 mm DPNS
Notes: I changed the heel to a short row heel to accommodate the dark yarn. Otherwise I tried to stick to the pattern.

I say that I tried to stick to the pattern because as Io was tucking in my ends I realized that the ribbing on the first sock is 2x1 but the ribbing on the second sock is 2x2. Whoops. You can hardly tell from the right side, which is why I made the mistake, so I don't think I will redo the ribbing. I may give the recipient the option of having me redo the ribbing. If I do redo the ribbing I will do more rows of it because I find these socks don't stay up as well as they might.

I have learned my lesson, though. When it comes time to start a second sock it is worth checking with the pattern instead of quickly eye balling the finished sock. Live and learn.

Thursday, November 29, 2007

Toeing the (finish) line

uzume toe

I am a few rows away from a finished pair of socks. The uzume socks should be finished easily tomorrow which means I will have a choice between casting on the second mitten and casting on a hat. Or I could cast on a new pair of socks. Choices, choices. All this early Christmas knitting is going well. Everything should be done by when I need it.

Wednesday, November 28, 2007

Half done

13 back done
13 palm done

I finished the mitten today and I'm no longer worried that it will be way too big. It is a wide mitten but it fits me so it should fit the person I knit it for. It needs a good block and the ends tucked in but it is otherwise finished. Now I just need to knit another one before Tuesday.

I've also been knitting away at the dark sock. I've reached the end of the leg so I can start the heel tomorrow. This means I'm a bit more than half done.

I think my knitting deadlines will be met. There are a couple more projects still to cast on but they are small and can be travel knitting if I don't get to them earlier.

Tuesday, November 27, 2007

Mitten knittin'

13 back
13 palm

Today I mostly knit away at this mitten. I keep reminding myself that mittens should have some positive ease because this mitten looks huge to me. Part of why it looks so big is that it has a patterned cuff that looks like part of the hand so it looks longer than it is. I think it will fit the person I'm giving it to but it might be a roomy fit.

Once the 1x1 ribbing is done this is a remarkably quick knit. I should be able to easily finish this one and start on its mate tomorrow unless I get tired of them and go back to my sock or start the hat I still have to knit. Tune in tomorrow to see what happens!

Monday, November 26, 2007

Double duty swatch

Today I found myself progressing really slowly on my second Uzume sock so I decided to take a break and start on the mitten. This is the same brown and white mitten that I started a while ago but didn't swatch for. This time I swatched using 2.5 mm needles. It turned out well since I got both a fabric I like and the pattern's required gauge. Nice.

I actually knit a small steek into my swatch because I've promised to show my mother how steeking works when I'm home. Since I'm thinking of knitting some sort of colour work sweater with this Romney wool this swatch is also a chance to see how it holds up to being cut. I think it will be a lot like the Shetland jumper wool but we will see. Hurray for test swatches.

Sunday, November 25, 2007

One down

uzume 1
I'm so glad I picked up this Uzume sock again. I had been frustrated trying to pick up stitches neatly along the flap of the heel because the yarn is so dark. I decided not to keep trying to do something that wasn't working and instead I opted for a nice short row heel. I got the new heel from my favorite Waterfall sock pattern and added in a bit of eye of partridge for good wear. I've already cast on for the second sock of this pair so I should have a finished object in a few days. Hurray for gifts that are ready to be given.

I've mentioned it before (I think) that I love these really dark Trekking colours. They are darker in real life than in the pictures and they almost look iridescent. A Peacock Feather Shawl would look wonderful in this yarn I imagine.

Right now I'm waiting for my Blue Moon Fiber yarn to arrive so that I can start of my Irtfa'a shawl. Yesterday I got an email from the postal service saying that they are getting ready to ship it. With any luck at all it will arrive before I leave for my very early Christmas trip home. Cross your fingers.

Saturday, November 24, 2007

Finished and resumed

grey and red
The grey and red project is all finished. I am really glad that most of the people I'm knitting for have hand and foot sizes similar to my own. The only downside of being able to try things on to test for fit is that I know I could easily keep the finished product for myself.

Pattern: To be announced, though I'm sure some of you can guess.
Yarn: Louet Gems super fine merino. One skein in Cloud Grey and one in Burgundy with left overs of both colours.
Needles: 2.5 mm and 3 mm addi DPNs

This means that I have a week and a bit to knit a pair of socks (maybe two), a hat and a pair of mittens. I actually think this is doable. It helps that I am part way through the first pair of socks.

If you recall back at the beginning of November (about the 7th) I cast on for a pair of socks in a lovely dark Trekking yarn. I set them aside because I wasn't thrilled with how the heel was coming out and I had other things to knit. I have decided to put in a short row heel instead of the flap heel the pattern suggests. We'll see how this goes.

One last thing because I can't keep wordplay to myself. When I discovered last night that I had posted to the wrong blog on Friday I was in a hurry to correct my mistake. I realized after that I really should have referred to this mistake as my "NaBloPoMo D'oh". That is all.

Friday, November 23, 2007


I just realized that I accidentally posted last night's post to the Autumn Rose blog instead of this one. This is the second time I've done this. I thought I'd learned from the first time. Anyway here is the post that should have been posted here last night and today's post is right after it.

I was hoping to have my black and white socks done by tonight's post but then I got distracted by non knitting things. I did, however, manage to get the heel turned on the second sock so now it's just straight leg knitting from now on.

I like the way the toe up gusset heel is worked in these socks. There are no stitches to pick up because the gusset is worked in increases along the sides and then decreased away on the way up to the leg. Very cool. When I get time I'd like to play around with using this sort of technique for cuff down socks. I prefer knitting from the top down because it makes it easy to change the length of the socks if they come out too long or two short. I also like gussets but could live without having to pick up stitches on the heel flap.

Knowing knitting I'm sure someone else has already figured something like this out but it still seems like an interesting challenge. It will have to wait until after Christmas knitting, though.

I wish these were for me

The black and white socks are finished. They are quite slouchy, unlike most of my tight fitting socks. I like them and wish I was knitting them for myself. Maybe I should cross my fingers and hope that the person they are for won't like them... I don't think that's going to happen though.
Pattern: Diamond Waffle socks size small
Yarn: Gauja, Romney wool (fingering weight). I used significantly less than the full 100 g skein.
Needles: 2.25 mm
Modifications: None aside from using different yarn

If you're curious about the actual colour of these, I've posted colour pictures on my Ravelry project page.

Wednesday, November 21, 2007

Thoughts on tension

As planned I went back to work on my grey and red mystery gift today. There were a few set backs but nothing too serious. The main problem was that I forgot which colour went on which finger. It was at least half and inch before I realized that I guessed wrong. I had heard/read that this made a difference but it took actually doing it to really appreciate how important it is.

I do colour work one handed with one yarn over my index finger and one over my middle finger. When I started this project I had the red over the index and the grey over the middle finger. When I restarted I did it the other way and discovered that the resulting fabric looked way more red. I couldn't figure out why there would be so much difference until I really looked at how I hold the yarns:

The yarn on the index finger gets a much higher tension than that on the middle finger so the stitches are smaller. I wished I'd realized this earlier because I would have made the red more prominent. I am three quarters done this project, though, and I'm not ribbing back. I will have to content myself with applying this knowledge to future projects. It makes me wonder whether I should try two handed colour work and see if I get a more even tension on both yarns.

***sorry for the blurry shot. It is hard to take a picture of your right hand if you're right handed and using a right handed camera.

Tuesday, November 20, 2007

Twist and rib

Today was a good knitting day. My needles arrived in the mail so I can resume work on the grey and red gift and I knit most of a sock that should actually fit. Hurray for taking time to figure out gauge. I am half an inch of ribbing away from being done the sock I started yesterday, which I will now refer to as the black and white sock. Oh the effort it takes to maintain the mysteries of gifts.

This sock's pattern is all done with knits and purls and it definitely feels like more work for my hands. The result, though, is quite funky and it should be warm. I might go back to my grey and red project tomorrow to give my hands a break. With my early December deadline there won't be much waiting until the pair is finished whatever I end up knitting on tomorrow.

Monday, November 19, 2007

New Shawl

The beautiful Raven Shawl pattern is now available. Hurray. As soon as my gift knitting is done I will be casting on this beautiful lace.

Ignoring Gauge

I'm having some gauge issues with my socks at the moment. I think this is mostly down to ignoring gauge. I get in a bit of a hurry and a gauge swatch seems too time consuming. Of course knitting most of a sock only to discover it needs about an inch more circumference is not exactly a time saving procedure.

Instead of ripping out and reknitting my waterfall sock I started a new pair. I'm still not sure if I am going to reknit the waterfall using the same yarn or switch to another yarn so that it doesn't feel quite so much like knitting a sock three times. In the mean time I'll knit away at this new mystery sock:

Sunday, November 18, 2007

Quick progress update

It seems that even when I have many projects on the go I tend to focus on one until it is finished (or frogged). Today I've been working away at the sock I showed yesterday. I had a bit of a set back when I screwed up my modification of the heel but I'm all caught up again. With any luck this sock will be done tomorrow night and I'll be able to get started on its pair.
mystery sock progress
You know, I might just finish all of my early Christmas knitting. Huzzah.

Saturday, November 17, 2007


I started these mittens (Selbuvotter's #13) yesterday. It looked like they were going to be a bit big but I convinced myself that I would either give them a bit of a felting/fulling or add in a lining. I finally took a good look at how the thumb is added and decided that I really wasn't crazy about them. The mitten will be frogged.

This is a wise decision, I think, since this yarn is new to me (it is a fingering weight romney wool that reminds me a lot of the shetland spindrift) and I'm not sure hoe much it is going to change when I wash it. So I will be actually knitting a gauge swatch to test the wool's reaction to a good washing. I know I should have done this first but I was caught up in the excitement of casting on a new project.

my other mystery project is on hold because I managed to loose of of my DPNs and I'm waiting for a new package to be delivered. Luckily the socks I cast on yesterday are working out well. The yarn is Louet Gems super fine and the pattern is Waterfall socks. This will be my third pair of socks in this pattern; I love these socks because they are a great combination of ribbing and lacyness.

Friday, November 16, 2007


j&h finished
My brother's Christmas gift is now all done. It still needs a wash and a block but it is otherwise ready to go. This is a good day to finish it too since it is his birthday today. I'd wish him a happy birthday but I'm pretty sure (and I certainly hope) that he doesn't read the blog.
Pattern: Jackyll & Hide
Yarn: Debbie Bliss Rialto Aran. 3 balls of white.
Needles: 5mm addi circular (I used a version of the magic loop method because I didn't have any double pointed needles in the right size)
Modifications: I changed the decreases along the top and made them paired decreases with a couple of stitches between. The only other change I made was to the distance between the end of the ribbing and the beginning of the eyes; since the pattern says it should be 4 inches but the diagram says 5 inches I took the average and did 4.5.

Ken helped me get a modeled shot:
j&h worn

Thursday, November 15, 2007

So close

For the last couple of hours I have been knitting madly trying to get this present finished so I could show it off before I went to bed. It was close but I failed so all I have is another work in progress shot. Tomorrow I should be able to not only finish the knitting but also finish all the finishing (I love that knitting lets me say that). I'm really happy with how this is turning out; it is lovely and soft and squishy and a bit creepy.

Wednesday, November 14, 2007

Another gift

The last gift knitting I posted on is still in progress but I've now cast on for a completely different project. This one is for my brother (who I don't think reads this blog). I love working with really fine yarns but it is a nice break to work with some aran weight yarn for a change.

So much knitting to do and so little time; my trip home this year is a t the beginning of December rather than Christmas proper so I'm rushing a bit at this point. Expect to see lots of projects cast on, and hopefully completed, int eh next couple of weeks.

Tuesday, November 13, 2007

Cat and wet wool

In the last few days I washed some of my knit wear and my cat has helped me dry and block it. I'm not sure what it is about wet wool but the cat likes to lay on it. In the last two days she has slept on a wet Autumn Rose and a damp shawl I was blocking. She would have also slept on my green hoodie but the wet wooden buttons were driving her crazy and she couldn't leave them alone so I set the sweater out of her reach. Oh helpful cats what would we do without them.

Christmas knitting continues unabated but repetitively so no new pictures tonight.

Monday, November 12, 2007


x-mas 1

So I've opted for closeup photos for my gifts. I may change my mind but for this gift, at least, I think it is the right way to go. I'm about half done and I'm pretty happy with how it is coming out. I'm using Louet Gems superfine merino in burgundy and cloud grey. So soft and nice.

I'm breaking from my tradition of using bamboo needles for stranded colour work. I've got some 2.5 mm addi DPNs and I'm finding they work just fine so far. Hopefully this won't be a saga and my gauge will remain consistent. Fingers crossed.

Sunday, November 11, 2007

Blogging gifts

I have a new project (or two) to post but I haven't decided how I'm going to handle showing off Christmas presents in progress. I've planned a lot of knitted Christmas presents this year and at least some of the recipients read my blog. In some cases it doesn't matter if I spoil the surprise but in others I am not so sure. I'm currently debating with myself whether to simply post a warning to those who want to be surprised or whether to simply take pictures that don't gibe the whole thing away. In the latter case I could either post black and white photos or close ups. Any advice?

I will try to decide what I'm going to do by tomorrow because I really want to show off what I'm doing. Until then I'll post a picture of one of the things I knit as a gift last year. I knit this Icarus using Habu silk and I can blame it for my continuing love of lace.

Saturday, November 10, 2007

'Finished' Sweater

green sweater

I finished knitting this sweater back in April or May but I only now got around to putting the finishing touches on it. The first zipper I installed back when I finished the knitting was at least an inch too long so the sweater buckled pretty badly. I wore the sweater for a while anyway but then I gave up and ripped it out.

The last couple of days I have sewn green ribbon to the new zipper,sewn the zipper to the sweater and then stitched the edge of the ribbon down. I also knit an i-cord edging along the front which makes the whole zipper look more professional in my opinion. Pockets have been sewn in and buttons attached. Here are some pictures of the details:
green inside
green pocket 2
green pocket 1

One of these days I might also add a breast pocket to draw the eye up. I tried to knit just such a pocket but it wasn't coming out like I wanted so it will just have to wait. As before, I'm going to wear it anyway.

Friday, November 9, 2007

Quick sock post

uzume progress

Tomorrow I'll have a longer post about a sweater I just "finished", but I'm off to a Weakerthans concert tonight so I'll make this brief. I'm working on this sock as part of my Christmas knitting. I'm making it out of some Trekking XXL in a beautiful black/green/blue colour that reminds me of a blackbird's iridescence. The pattern is Uzume. So far I'm really happy with these socks.

Thursday, November 8, 2007

Christmas yet to come

The last couple of mornings have brought me deliveries of yarn. I've been ordering my supplies for my Christmas knitting. For the next month there will be lots of pictures of socks and mittens. I've got some Gems merino wool from Louet (above) and some Romni wool from Headwater Wool (below). All of it is fingering weight and most of it is getting knit up for others. I'm amused that my Romni is spun in Latvia and much of it is probably going to end up in Latvian mittens; it seems appropriate.

Wednesday, November 7, 2007

Bad sock luck #3

I will warn you that this is pretty bad. I have actually had to work up to posting this because I've been secretly hoping that ignoring it might make it magically go away.

You will recall that I went to some trouble to knit myself a pair of Nancy Bush's Norwegian Stockings. I basically knit 5 socks and ended up with two pair. When I washed them I noticed that the black bled a little into the red and white. I could have taken my time and just rinsed them repeatedly in cool water until I got the extra dye out but instead I decided to speed things up with a bit of RIT colour remover.

The result was that the RIT took all of the colour out of the red yarn (I guess superwash merino is as easy to undye as it is to dye) and somehow managed to put some of that red into some of the white yarn. This happened to all 4 socks because I was doing both pairs at once. Despair and damnation.

So now I have to find a way to redo the red bits (I'm thinking either stitching over them, colouring them in with a fabric pen or cutting off the top and reknitting it) and a way to get the red out of the white (I'm thinking with the very careful application of a bleach pen.) Of course the little crazy voice in my head is saying that I could always just knit another pair. So far I've managed to ignore the crazy voice.

Since I don't want to bum anyone out too much here's a picture of my cat. She looks better all stretched out than my doomed socks do.

Tuesday, November 6, 2007

Some spinning

I thought I'd take a quick break from socks and show off some sock yarn. Ok, I'm a bit sock centered at the moment.

This is a 50 g. skein of 3 ply fingering weight worsted spun Blue Face Leicester. I spun it up a couple of weeks ago and I'm pretty happy with how it turned out. It is not the most even I've ever spun but I also wasn't trying very hard to keep my singles nice and even; I was just enjoying spinning it and playing with my wheel.
It is a Fleece Artist wool and I really like the colours. I wasn't aiming for stripes or subtle progressions so I just spun each bit as I felt at that moment. I was quite impressed with how close I came to dividing it into 3 given the fact that I just eyeballed it and then didn't spin really evenly. Once I'd plied the 3 bobbins of singles together I only had this much left on the bobbins:

Now I just need to spin up some of the white BFL roving I bought so that I'll have enough yarn for some socks.

Monday, November 5, 2007

Good sock luck #2...

...and a finished knit.
Kilt Hose Front
So after the unfortunate results I got with the ShiBui yarn, I actually bought the yarn called for in the pattern while I was in Toronto. Not only did I buy the brand of yarn called for in the pattern but I also bought the colour called for, too. This is a strange thing for me to do when it comes to socks.

Pattern: Highland Scottische Kilt Hose, from Nancy Bush's Folk Socks
Yarn: Brown Sheep Company's Nature Spun Sport, 3 balls of Ash
Needles: Metal DPNs size 2.75mm
Modifications: none (!)

I managed to knit these using only 3 balls of the yarn instead of the called for 4. I have about 10 meters left over from knitting for a size 8 woman's foot. I only bought 3 balls because it was all the store had in a colour that I liked and I was crossing my fingers that this wouldn't lead to another bad luck sock post. Hurray, it worked out for me this time.

Now all I need is a nice skirt/kilt to go with these.
Kilt Hose Back

Sunday, November 4, 2007

Bad sock luck #2

This bad sock luck is due largely to my willingness to believe everything will turn out fine despite my doubts.

(please note that the red in this picture is more intense than in real life)

Last month I wanted to knit a pair of Nancy Bush's Highland Scottische Kilt Hose from Folk Socks. A trip to the yarn store yielded no nice plain sock yarn, though I did come home with a couple of skeins of ShiBui Sock yarn in a great red colour. I hadn't tried this yarn before and it was a new addition to the yarn store's stock and I was weak.

In the skein the yarn looked like a semi-solid so I decided that I would knit myself a red pair of the Kilt Hose using the ShiBui. As I knit I discovered that in fact the yarn produces stripes of lighter and darker red. At this point I convinced myself that even though the sock was pretty patterned and the red pretty eye catching some subtle striping would not make my knee socks too loud and distracting.

I kept knitting and decreasing according to the pattern until I realized that what were subtle stripes at the top of the sock were turning into pools of colour at the bottom. I do understand how self-striping yarn works so this shouldn't have come as a surprise but for some reason it did. At this point I was forced to admit that red knee high socks with yarn-over patterns, stripes and pooling were going to be unwearable. It took me nearly knitting a whole skein to realize this, though. Sigh.

So this work has now been ripped out and the yarn confined to stash. Luckily I did find a more appropriate yarn with which to knit my Kilt Hose and tomorrow I will show you the result.

Saturday, November 3, 2007

A finished knit

This is a Pecan Pie Beret from knitty. I finished it a week or so ago but hadn't gotten around to snapping pictures of it. I enjoyed knitting it and am really happy with the final result. It is also the first of my Christmas knitting.

Pattern: Pecan Pie Beret
Yarn: The Fibre Company Terra (Cochineal colourway) and Noro Kureyon (221)
Needles: Bamboo DPNs size 3.5mm
Modifications: only yarn substitution

This was the first time I'd used either of these yarns and I enjoyed using both of them. I can see why Kureyon is popular. It was also my first attempt at Brioche stitch and I'm sure I'll be using it again sometime soon. It seemed like as soon as I learned the stitch I was seeing it everywhere on sweaters and boots. I like the way knitting sometimes makes you notice things like that for the first time.

The cat loves this hat and kept sleeping on it while it was blocking. She also decided that she couldn't be left out of a photo shoot with what I'm sure she thinks of as her hat.

Friday, November 2, 2007

Good sock luck #1

If you recall back in August I posted a picture of these Waterfall socks I was making for a secret pal out of a lovely red Trekking sock yarn. I really like how they turned out but then my secret pal disappeared. So I got to keep these and instead I knit another pair of Waterfall socks for my new secret pal.

None of this bothered me too much but it did leave me with a pair of socks that didn't really feel like they were mine. For one thing they were a bit too big; my secret pall had size 9 feet and I have size 8ish. As a sock knitter I knew I could unravel the toe and make the sock fit me, since they were top down socks, but I couldn't really bring myself to do it. I still wore them now and then but they always felt like someone else's socks.

A couple of weeks ago one of my best friends came to visit me from Regina. Veronica and I have been great friends since elementary school, though we don't get to see enough of each other now that we are living in different provinces. While she was out here visiting we made a weekend trip to Toronto to see Sarah, who has been our great friend since grade 8. I packed my Autumn Rose sweater to wear and a few pairs of my knitted socks, including the too large Waterfalls. Much wonderful hanging out, walking around, and eating occurred (as well as a 'quick' trip to the yarn store). It is always a joy to hang out with best friends.

At one point I was knitting away on a sock while we sat around her apartment and I thought to ask Sarah what size her feet are. Low and behold they are size 9. I dug the Waterfall socks out of my bag and sure enough they fit her. It was a lovely confluence of events. The socks that didn't feel like they belonged to me now belonged to Sarah.

So now both my best friends have hand made socks, since I knit Veronica a pair back in August. I now also know what size of socks to knit for my best friends and I can see this information being useful in the coming holiday season.

Thursday, November 1, 2007

Bad sock luck #1

Ok, so I'm not off to a really quick start for NaBloPoMo, but I guess pacing oneself is important for these...

In the last few weeks I have had a run of bad luck with socks and a run of good luck to make up for it. Actually I'm not sure if the term 'bad luck' applies to all of my sock woes since chance may not be the biggest factor. In fact today's entries are all the inevitable product of time and wear. I have, for the first time worn a hole in one of my hand made socks:

This is one of my monkey socks and I'm not sure how I managed to wear such a large hole in the heel without noticing. I have been wearing this pair a lot since they are a nice blue that goes doesn't stand out if worn with jeans. I've also been wearing them in my favorite shoes which happen to be slip on shoes with low backs that rub the back of the heel when you walk.

It was a simple matter of time before I wore out a pair of socks but it was still a shock when it happened. It was a greater shock when I noticed that two other pairs of socks also had holes in them:

Oh woe is me. I'm not sure why but the three pairs of socks I knit during my last trip to Montreal decided to wear out at the same time. I'm wondering if the needles I used were cursed.

Anyway, all is not lost. As someone who will repair store bought socks if I like the pattern enough, I'll be sitting down to darn my socks one of these days soon. Luckily all three holes seem pretty stable because the socks are all slightly felted where they wore out. This means I don't have to worry about my sock unraveling while they wait for me to repair them.

Tomorrow: some good sock news.