Monday, July 30, 2007

Four Day Socks and a Spare Square

Four days, so far that is my record for knitting a pair of socks. Granted, it was a very simple pattern, but I do have a complete pair of socks and that's what counts. It really felt good to finish a project that quickly, especially a pair of socks. The nice thing is that the self striping yarn makes the socks look a little more involved than they really were.

This is the first time I used a short row heel. I need to work on getting the wraps finished better so the heel looks a little neater. But overall, I have to give the short rows a great big HOORAY! They were actually very easy to complete. Plus, I just really like the way a short row heel looks.

I usually knit my socks toe-up with gusset increases and a heel flap. This time I omitted the gusset increases and use a short row heel. I think leaving out all those increase rows really saved some time - at least it did in my mind. I have read that a sock with a short row heel and no gusset increases can be a little tight to pull on over the heel. I didn't have that problem with this pair.

I have several pairs worth of striping yarn stashed away. Those stashed skeins will be great for trying out new construction techniques combined with very simple ribbing patterns. I think the next technique to try out is a short row toe.

I also used some of the leftover yarn to knit a square for my Hip to be Square Afghan. The square is unblocked as of now, I'll wait until I get several to pull out the blocking board.

I still have enough yarn for one more square. I'm able to get a sock and square from each of the 50 gram skeins. This square weighs in at a whopping 12 grams. I need to start swapping for leftover sock yarn to make more squares.

I've got a total of six squares knit up so far. I figure I need at least 30-35 squares to make a small baby sized blanket, so I've got a ways to go before anything happens with the squares.

Project Info
Yarn: Regia Design Line by Kaffe Fassett
color: 4251 - storm
skein 50 grams / 210 meters - 2 skeins used
Needles: addi TURBO Lace - US# 1 (2.5 mm)
Stitch Pattern: 4x2 ribbing
Date Started: July 25,
Date Finished: July 29, 2007
Notes: short row heel, toe-up on two circular needles, long tail cast on over two needles (10 stitches per needle), 60 stitches per round
Date Started: July 25, 2007
Date Finished: July 29, 2007

Friday, July 27, 2007

Fiber Friday - Unikat

I really like the colors of the yarn in this mix. The colors are really the main reason that this yarn ended up in my stash. They just seem really rich and vibrant. The yarn does have a nice feel to it. It isn't too scratchy, It isn't the softest thing I've ever felt, but I do think that I could wear it close to the skin.

I'm not quite sure what I'll do with this yet. Most of the time when I see this yarn online the advertisement mentions that it is great felting yarn. I'm not so sure what I would knit for felting with it, but I only have about 350 yards total. Maybe that would make a small pillow or cushion cover. Maybe a pair of mitten, I think I have a pattern for felted mittens somewhere.

Yarn Details
Brand: Zitron
Yarn Name: Unikat
Color: #7
Fiber Content: Merino Wool
Skein Weight: 100g
Yardage: 175 yds
Care: Hand Wash & Dry Flat
Notes: single ply, feltable

Tuesday, July 24, 2007

Keeping it Simple

Well, it was time to start a new project after finishing Wicked. I went to the spare bedroom closet (where the yarn lives) to take a look in the stash for some inspiration. I found some King Tut cotton that I dug out of a clearance bin back in January. I purchased the yarn for the Nina Shawl from the Mason Dixon Knitting book.

The cotton made it sound like a light summer project so I wound up the skeins and cast on. The other reason I decide to try this project is the small amount of Fair Isle on each end of the shawl. I have two stalled projects that both involve color work. One of the stalled projects is the Color on Color Scarf from Scarf Style and the other is the Weekend Getaway Satchel that appeared in IK. Both projects stalled at the time the color work began. I really would like to get those projects out and finish them, but I've been avoiding them because of the Fair Isle. So, I figured I needed a project with a smaller amount of Fair Isle that I could complete that would encourage me to drag the old projects back out.

There are only two sections of Fair Isle in this shawl and both are a few rows of a simple checker board pattern. The first one went okay over all. My stitches seem a little too tight and pull together slightly. I'm hoping that is will bock out a little bit once the shawl if finished. I decided not to frog it and instead I'll try to knit a little bit less tight on the other end.

I really like working with the cotton so far. It does split a little, but its not nearly as hard on my hands as I thought it might be. It is so much nicer than the dish cloth cotton I've used before. I think I'm going to have to consider knitting with cotton a lot more often. Do you have a favorite cotton yarn?

Friday, July 20, 2007

Fiber Friday - Wollmeise Part II

I've decided to share some pictures of another skein of the fabulous Wollmeise sockenwolle. This lovely color is called Suzanne and it is 100% super wash wool. The skein weighs 150 grams and is about 574 yards. That could make some long socks!

All this sock yarn makes me want to cast on for a new pair of socks. But I've kind have been in a knitting slump. I haven't really been knitting much this week at all. I haven't really done any knitting at all since finishing up Wicked. Maybe it is is the heat and the idea of wool that are just not sitting with me well at this point.

I'm really trying to decide what project to pick up next. I've got my STR blanket that I could work on and then there are those pesky man socks. Those damn socks keep eyeing me from the bottom of the knitting basket where I tried to hide them. I really need to finish those up. If for no other reason than to release the needles that are stuck in them. Ah, I'll figure something out.

Wednesday, July 18, 2007

Where do the Socks Go After the Knitting is Done?

It all started with Bezzie, who tagged Kay, who then tagged Zonda, who finally tagged me to show my sock drawer. My socks actually occupy one of the smallest drawers in my dresser. I need to clean out the dresser because I've got a whole drawer of t-shirts that need to sent off to the rag basket in the laundry room.

Some of my hand knit socks have migrated to a small Rubbermaid container that stays in the closet. I don't wear a lot of socks. I do buy those really short white ankle socks that I wear with my tennis shoes/sneakers. I have my hand knit socks and then a few odd pair of socks thrown in for good measure. The tabi socks are from Japan and I wear them with my flip flops on chilly days. I need to knit a pair of tabi socks sometime.

So, if you feel up to it, snap and share a picture of where your socks live!

Monday, July 16, 2007

Wicked is Finished!

This project is finally ready for a done stamp! I finished the sleeves and the weaving in all the loose ends last night. As you can see, I knit the long sleeve version. I used a worsted weight yarn and skipped the pocket on the front on the sweater.

I never really did get the right gauge according to the pattern specifications. My knitting was just too tight to get gauge. The pattern called for US #7 needles and I ended up using US #8s. I didn't really want to go up another needle size because I liked the fabric I was getting. I thought going up another size might make the fabric too loose.

So I decided to cast on for a larger size. I figured that would be okay since this sweater is knit from the top down and I could try it on as I went and make adjustments as needed.

Almost all the finished versions of this sweater I've seen show a nice form fitted sweater. My version fits more like an old baggy sweatshirt. I realized when I separated the sleeves from the body and tried it on for the first time that it was going to be big.

I think the odd thing is that for the size I cast on for (52-55"), the pattern called for 11oo yards of yarn. I ended up using about 1300 yards (with no pocket) and ended up with a sweater two sizes smaller (44-47").

I do have a couple of very important lessons to take away from knitting my first sweater. The first one is that everyone is right - gauge does matter; take the time and get it right. The second is I really need to learn about ease and knitting a sweater to fit me.

The good news is that I can always cozy up with this sweater on a cold night. It will be much better than wearing it outside in July in 90+ degree weather to get a picture. I now know what Sherman feels like on these days!

Project Info
Pattern: Wicked from Zephyr Style
Yarn: Artyarns Supermerino; color # 114
12.5 skeins used
Needles: addi TURBO -US# 8 (5 mm)
Pattern Size: 52-55"
Finished Size: 47"
Pattern Modifications: I knit the long sleeve version and left off the pocket.

Friday, July 13, 2007

Fiber Friday - Rhabarber

That's rhubarb to all of us that don't read German. This yarn was sent to me all the way from Germany from the Wollmeise herself. The picture here shows the sock yarn and a skein of merino wool both in the Rhabarber colorway. I thought I'd show both together so you could see how the different yarn bases take the same dye colors. The sock yarn comes out much more vibrant.

This yarn is part of an order I placed a while ago from Rohrpatz and Wollmeise. If you haven't seen Claudia's hand dyed yarn, you should have a look. The website also displays some iron work, so just click on the yarn, select english, and enjoy the color.

The merino lambswool is worsted weight and comes in a 100 gram hank and has about 200 meters. You can see it is one ply with a slight twist. It's pretty soft. and is handwash only. I have three hanks of this and I am currently trying to decide what to make.

There are about 40 different color combinations that are avaialble, plus a couple seasonal selections. You can get sample skeins of any color in the worsted weight. I ordered a whole set of the sample skeins so I could see all the colors in person for future orders. I'll share some photos of those on another day. You can see a sample skein on one of the wrapped packages of yarn to the left. The order arrived wrapped up and decorated like that - it wa slike getting a gift.

You can order the colors in light, medium, and dark intensity. I went for meduim to dark selections. She also has laceweight yarn. I didn't get any of the lace weight this time; I had to save something for later.

I can't forget the sock yarn of course. The scok yarn also comes in all the colors too. It is a superwash 100% wool. Each skein is 150 grams and about 574 yards! That is a lot of yardage. I'm really looking forward to tring it out. The color is what convinced me to give it a try. Zknitter has a beautiful skein she's ready to knit up into some fabulos socks. I think that the Wollmeise is fast becoming the new pet rock. I've heard that soon you will be able to order the sock yarn from the Loopy Ewe.

The sock yarn does have a nice twist and you can dance to it. Or at least the colors make me want to dance. I have five more colors of the sock yarn that I'll save to share another day.

Wednesday, July 11, 2007

It Keeps Going and Going....

Ever feel like you are going around in a circle? Well, I'm starting to get that feeling. I've actually been knitting a lot on this blanket. I can tell I'm making progress because I am really starting to notice it's weight while it is sitting in my lap. It is also taking longer and longer to knit each strip of color.

Currently, the blanket is about 23 inches square. I'm using 2 skeins of each of the three colors in Socks That Rock heavyweight. I'm still knitting from the first skein of each color. I'd estimate that I'm about two thirds of the way through those first skeins. I could probably sit down and figure out how large this blanket will end up. But that involves too much math - so I'll wait and be surprised.

When I first started this project, each of the strips were knitting up really fast and I made a lot of progress. It is all beginning to slow down now. I can now only get one strip finished on a weeknight knitting session. I really hadn't intended to put so much time into this project right now. My initial thoughts were that I would wait until fall to really get going on this project. But there is something about having simple garter stitch to work on that is soothing and easy to do while watching television.

I've also been working on finishing Wicked. I'm down to knitting the sleeves. I can see the allure of a short sleeved sweater now. It gets kind of monotonous and you have to turn and readjust the whole project so many times. I thought about ripping out the sleeve I have started and making the short sleeve version. But I know that I will never wear a short sleeve wool sweater. So I'll keep on knitting the sleeves. I'm going to try and concentrate on getting those sleeves done this weekend.

Tuesday, July 10, 2007

I've Got Mini Moos, How About You?

I ordered a set of MiniCards from Moo and they arrived yesterday. These little calling cards are so cute. They have my pictures, from Flickr, on the front and the back is imprinted with my name, e-mail address, and the URL for my blog. You can customize that however you would like.

I ordered a set of 100 cards and picked a large selection of my photos to use on the front of the cards. You can choose as many or as few photos as you would like. It was really easy to do because I was able to select any of the photos I had already uploaded to Flickr.

The cards are smaller than business cards - kind of an odd size. But I did find this nice little card holder on ETSY from Splatgirl Creates, It a great little size and holds about 20 cards. The case can be ordered with or without the little clip. Now - I just got to start handing them out. If you see me, be sure to ask for a card!

Now, I've got a picture of Sherman I'd thought I'd share. He's pictured here with his favorite toy. It is a stuffed duck that makes a kind of a honking sound when squeezed just right.

Sherman carries duckie with him all over the house and will often even fall asleep with it in his mouth. And when it is time to go outside, he carries it to the front door and leave it there until he comes back inside.

Poor duckie has seen better days, in fact I think duckie's days are numbered. This is the second duckie we've had. I think it may be time for a new one.

Friday, July 06, 2007

Fiber Friday - Sock Candy

What a great name for yarn! This yarn is Blue Moon Fiber Art's version of sock yarn in cotton. Each yarn is 200 yards / 2 ounces and is 96% cotton and 4% elite. The elite is in there for elasticity. The nice thing is it is machine washable. It has a very nice soft squishy feel to it. This nice summery color is called kiwi.

I don't think Sock Candy is available through the Blue Moon website at this time. I ordered it at the end of last year when they were still taking custom orders. I'm glad I got it when I did.

I'm really looking forward to knitting with this yarn. I think part of what I really like is the appearance of texture that the strands have. I've got two other colors of sock candy stashed away for a rainy day. I've got so much sock yarn stashed away that I haven't shown you yet. Next week's selection will be something all the way from Germany!

Sunday, July 01, 2007

Little Teapot Cover

The teapot cozy is complete. I really have no idea how long this took to make. It really wasn't complicated or very involved. I just set it aside several times so it took longer than it should have. I think to took longer to felt and sew on the buttons than it actually took to knit the whole thing.

Here is the handle.....No, I won't sing the song. But this does show my least favorite part of the project. The hole for the handle is kind of loose and gaps a bit. I think if I did this again, I would make a small hole and enlarge it to the proper size after the felting was almost complete.

I did have to cut an inch off the bottom to make the length fit. I decided to do that after the felting was done. I just got out the scissors and snipped an inch off all the way around the bottom. It was felted enough that there was no raveling of stitches.

The cozy was just a little short to fit my tall orange teapot. I thought about stretching it, but decided I like the orange pot too much to cover up and this yellow teapot has a broken lid, so it was a perfect candidate for a cover.

I was pleased how well the hole for the spout fit. I didn't have to adjust that at all. I'm surprised how well the whole cozy actually fits the teapot. So all in all it was a successful project.

Now I just have to find a shelf to sit it on. I will admit this is the first knitting project I've made that has drawn strange looks from the hubby - but I guess I can't blame him. It is probably just a little too whimsical for his tastes.

Project Info
Pattern: Tea Cozy by Susan Guagliumi
from Vogue Knitting on the go! Felting
Yarn: Noro Kureyon - color #126; 2 skeins
Needles: addi TURBO -US# 11
Pre felted Dimensions: 14" tall / 16" wide
Finished Dimensions: 8" tall / 9.5" wide
Pattern Modifications: I cut one inch of fabric off the bottom after the felting was finished.
Buttons: 39 (attached with sewing thread)