Friday, September 21, 2007

More socks

I've been very busy knitting socks. Since the most recent post about socks, I've finished at least five pairs. I bought Cat Bordhi's new book, New Pathways for Knitters and the first sock I had to do was Coriolis. I knit it in a beautiful yellow-green yarn from Nature's Palette and while it dyed my fingers green, it looks beautiful and I love the way the spiral curls up the leg. For the next Coriolis I knit I will add a couple of plain rows before knitting the purl row for turning so that there isn't that little pook-out where the spiral ends.

The other sock, on my right foot, is Ambrosia by Anne Budd, published on Knitting Daily a while ago. I enjoyed knitting the cables and even got brave enough to do them without using a cable needle. I just dropped the stitches that needed moving, knit the appropriate stitches then picked the hanging stitches up with the needle and continued merrily along. I did have a problem with the socks though. The cable pulled the socks in so much that when I finished the heel I couldnt' get the socks on. After some consultation, I ripped the socks back to below the heel, and added many more stitches to make the instep bigger. It worked, although the socks are still a little tight around the instep. I need to wear them a bit to make them stretch.

I've also knit two pairs of socks using the Canadian dyeing company Hand Maiden - a delight to knit because it is so soft. I love the feel of the yarn, with it's blend of Merino, Cashmere, and nylon, and the socks are great. Both the socks are from New Pathways again - this time Upstream and Riverbed whose only difference is where the increases are - on the top for the first, and the bottom for the second. Upstream is the purple one, Riverbed the brown one. Riverbed was made for my husband and after I gave them to him to try on I told him he couldn't really wear them till after they were introduced at the next West Coast Knitters Guild meeting a couple of weeks from now. He was very dutiful and gave them back to me, even though I know he wanted to wear them. Shame on me.

Here's another pair I finished at least a month ago. I bought the yarn in Victoria, BC when I was there for the Fibre Fest. The yarn is Jitterbug. Too bad they are now a little too small for me, since I washed them. I love the colours.

Friday, September 07, 2007

Socks, Socks, Socks

I've been sock crazy for months - or as my GLBT list says, "I've gone over to the dark side". Many, many socks have been knit, and yes, I do manage to complete a pair before I knit another. The socks you see here are a pair I knit after I first saw someone knitting with Koigu. I had to have some - it was like a drug - get it to me now. I knit these socks like crazy and they are certainly wonderful. One little note - I wore them once and after taking them off noticed that there was a line of soft abrasion right over my big toe on both socks. This yarn is obviously very soft. However, they have been washed a number of times now and they are holding up just fine. And another little note - they were knit toe-up with no picking up stitches on the side of the heel flap. Yes, there is a heel flap and a short row section to make the rounded section where the heel turns upwards. I love that.

The interesting thing about these socks is that they are part of a series I have been knitting using a left foot/right foot pattern which I adapted from an explanation of top-down socks knit this way. It took lots of concentration to get the pattern adapted - somehow it felt like knitting in a mirror; every thing I wrote had to be considered backwards from the way the pattern was written. It felt quite wierd.

Here's a detail of the heel and the gusset. The gusset is knit right in and is very simple. It was taken from the sock design in for Widdershins socks, a pattern I loved. It was my first foray into toe-up socks and I found it a revelation. I have avoided socks because I didn't want to deal with that heel flap - oh have I mentioned that I hate picking up stitches already? And look - a slip one knit one heel gusset, just like in a top down sock. I'm such an innocent - I didn't even know it was possible. I have grown so much. (lol) Now I'm thinking I'm an expert, but then again - there's more to come in future blogs about that...

And look - here is my very delicate heel and foot - a mere size 10.5 inch foot. That's about average. Note the short leg above the heel - I'm not into tall socks ever since I started running and discovered short running socks. The top was cast off using the knit 2 tog thru back loop technique which gives a nice stretchy finish. One of the early socks I knit I cast off the normal way, but that was another lesson learned, since I could not get it over my ever-so delicate ankle. Thank heaven for yarn stores - I learned the technique I used here at one of my favorite yarn shops here in Vancouver - Three Bags Full, thanks to Francesca and Linda.

There are more socks waiting their turn to be blogged. I must be happy with this one for now. If I try to do too much, nothing will get done. That's my style, and I have to live with it.

Tuesday, July 03, 2007

Hanging Garden

The Hanging Garden has been hanging fire for some time now. I saw this beautiful stole on display at my favourite yarn shop and it called to me. I didn't buy the pattern then, but two days later I went back and looked again. Francesca, the owner, showed me the yarn and that clinched it for me. When I saw it I knew I had to knit with it. Such a beautiful yarn.

The stole was designed by Sivia Harding, and the yarn came from Three Bags Full Yarn shop on Main Street in Vancouver, a wonderful resource.

I started the stole about two and a half months ago in April, 2007, and finished it in two weeks. Then things got in the way, and I could not show it off to my guild (WestCoastKnitters in Vancouver, BC) at the May meeting (May 1, 2007)because of a "little" medical problem. I hadn't even blocked it when my medical problem took over my life for four days, so maybe it was for the best.

A month later - the day before the next guild meeting (June 5, 2007), I blocked the stole, which turned out to be both easier than I expected and made the stole even more beautiful. I had to block it on the floor, using two large towels and 176 quilters pins. My back was hurting when I finally hauled myself back up.

So now it is time to unveil my work. It was a labor of love, made with lots of swearing because every now and again I made a little mistake that required me to unknit row after row, no lifeline in place, (tried that and hated it). With a 54 row repeat, done 12 times, there were lots of opportunities for errors, so the fact that I still completed it in only two weeks is even more remarkable.

I used Fiddlesticks 50-50 Merino-Silk yarn in Copper and 70 small orange beads at cast-on and cast-off, 3.5 mm Addi Turbo circular lace needle, and lots of stitches to produce this work. Now I just have to figure out how to display it in my apartment since I didn't make it with a ricipient in mind - I just wanted to do it.

The model is my beautiful niece Kara Pottle who was visiting me from Kamloops, BC. I took her down to the park in front of my apartment, so we could use English Bay as a backdrop to equal the beauty of the stole. It was a cool day, but she told me the stole actually kept her warm. Must be the merino.

Thursday, April 26, 2007

Getting back to it!

I have been so remiss. After three months in Mexico, I've already been home a month and have yet to blog any of the projects I have either worked on or am working on right now. Shame on me. I am very busy right now with an amazing lace stole which I plan to hang on a chair in my living room, just to look pretty and allow itself to be admired. I should be working on it right now, because I've given myself a deadline, so this is a quick and dirty entry right now, until I have the time to get all the photos of knittingI took while I was in Mexico.

Hang in there faithful readers

Friday, January 26, 2007

Knitting in heat

Not cats, but temperature. I am in Puerto Escondido and the heat is opressive right now. I spent two weeks sunbathing nude on the beach in Zipolite, near Puerto Angel, then moved to Puerto Escondido where I have done hardly any sunbathing. Because of that my skin is starting to dry out and flake even though I smear lotion on during the day.

Since I don't really like to look too much like a lizard, I am going to knit myself a cotton washcloth called Lacy Mock Cable. I found the pattern in the Dishcloth Boutique. Of course I don't have the kind of cotton recommended in the pattern - mine is some mercerized cotton I bought in Pochutla, the main town near Puerto Angel and Zipolite. It's purple, that's no problem, but it's finer than I would like.

No matter, I cast on one repeat more of the pattern (48 stitches) and it looks like it will be a decent width - I just have to knit it long enough. It will be a skimpy cloth though, very little heft to this yarn. One complaint about the pattern - it says to cast on 40 stitches, or a repeat of 8 plus 2 stitches. Well, the pattern is an 8 stitch repeat and that incorporates the edge stitches, so what's that 2 stitches for. At least the author could have said something about a selvedge stitch, although that is certainly not necessary since the edge has three knit stitches anyway. I hope no unsuspecting new knitter finds this pattern and tries to make sense of it.

I have to go work on my project now. I'm only in the first half of the first pattern repeat, so there's away to go. Time's awasting.