Monday, September 29, 2008

Decisions, Decisons

I started a pair of socks with a partial skein, knowing I wouldn't have enough to make a full pair, and now I can't decide what to do. Make anklets? Stripe in another yarn on the cuffs? And if so, which yarn?

So I took pictures!

Here they are by themselves. I'm trying two at a time again, and while it's less of a pain, I'm still not crazy about the technique. If I use up the rest of the skein without adding in anything else, the cuffs will be about 2 inches high.

Option 1

Option 2

Option 3

Option 4

Option 5

I keep waffling about which one I like. I tried option 1 on the foot, and wasn't crazy about it (it made the whole sock seem tan, and kind of boring), but maybe that would be OK on the cuff? I like the idea of 2 or 4, since they're partial skeins I have to use up somehow anyway, but I don't want the lure of using up remnants to make me choose an option I don't really like. Maybe they're all terrible and I need another color entirely?

Or maybe I just need to get out more?

Sunday, September 28, 2008

Secret FOs

I went to DC/VA to visit my new niece (and my sisters too, I guess) on Thursday. She's alarmingly adorable, and looks like a seal (or perhaps a sea lion?) when she yawns. And I delivered another present--the February baby sweater, knit while I was at that work conference at the end of August.

You've seen a million of these (if you're keeping up with your knit blog reading--and if not, why not?), and mine's pretty standard, although as you can just barely see, I made all the garter stitch sections pink, and the lace parts white (with tiny bits of intarsia to keep the pink borders all along the fronts). I did add buttons before I turned it over--little square pearl-y ones. (I used 1 skein of each color of Cotton Bab Boo from Classic Elite, and size 6 needles.)

And belatedly, the socks I gave my sister for her birthday--with matching mini ones.

The big socks were pair 7, and the smaller ones pair 15 (the latter also made at the conference). The baby socks don't stay on very well--I should have made a ribbed cuff, but I wanted them to match the picot trim of the big ones.

And non-secret FOs too:

The grey socks for Kevin! Schaefer Anne, knit on size 1.5 needles, with a kind of garter stitch rib--the rib stitch is knit through the back loop, so it stands out more.

These were pair 16, I wrote about pair 17 last time, and I've also knit up pair 18 already--the Spring Forward socks from the summer Knitty. They were very speedy. I just started them on Sunday (or Monday?), and finished them up on Friday, while also making good progress on my sweater (the purpl-y one from a few weeks ago). I'll try to remember to take pictures!

Sunday, September 21, 2008

Ariel Shawl

I've written up the shawl pattern, and added it to my Ravelry store...


Difficulty: Intermediate

Finished Measurements:
Width (across the longest side): 68 inches
Length (from center to point): 34 inches

About 500 yards lace weight yarn. Sample is knit from 2 skeins of Ariel from the Natural Dye Studio (100% silk; 250 yds per 35 g/1.23 oz. skein). Ariel has been discontinued, but most lace weight yarns would substitute well.
US size 4/3.5 mm 24-inch circular needle
Tapestry needle
Stitch markers
105 small beads (if desired)
crochet hook (small enough to fit through hole in beads, if desired)

Not crucial for lace; select a needle which produces fabric you like, and creates good contrast between YOs and stitches.

Price: $4.00, from Ravelry, or my Etsy shop.

Saturday, September 20, 2008


(I've finished the grey socks too, but let's just skip ahead for a second, okay?)

I've been wanting to try Elizabeth Zimmerman's moccasin socks for a while now, and finally cast on for a pair earlier this week, using my handspun (and size 4 needles--speedy!). In case you haven't been thinking about moccasin socks for weeks, they're worked from the cuff down (worked flat, in EZ's case, but I decided to knit mine in the round), then at the back of the heel, you decrease at the sides, so you're just knitting the top of the foot. When it's long enough to cover most of the top of the foot, you knit the upper side of the toes, then pick up stitches around the opening, and knit around to form the sole. At the end, you graft the stitches together along the center of the sole.

The directions definitely produced a socks, but with a shorter foot than I expected. In retrospect, that's because when you pick up stitches for the sole, you pick up 1 stitch for every 2 rows (in each of the slipped stitches you slipped when you were knitting the upper foot).* But that produces a sole that's smaller than the upper foot (because 1 stitch is narrower than 2 rows of knitting are tall) which makes the whole sock smaller than it seemed like it would be.

I'm a bit perplexed by this--did EZ find that the sock was stretchy enough that this didn't matter? If not, why didn't the directions tell you how to size them properly? (Particularly since her other directions tell you how to fit things to yourself.) And, if I make another pair and want it to fit me, would it be better to knit the upper foot too long, so it will fit when the sole pulls it in (and in that case, how too long should I make it?), or to pick up more stitches (say, 2 sts for every 3 rows, as I usually do for sleeves and neckbands)?

* I did wonder as I picked up the sts whether 1 st/2 rows was enough, but I told myself that EZ wouldn't steer me wrong...

Sunday, September 14, 2008


The sweater was just as speedy as I'd hoped--here it is, blocked and dry already (I finished knitting on Thursday, at SnB).

The stitches along the decrease lines are a little weird--the gauge is a little loose, and I haven't yet figured out where to knit more tightly to prevent it (on the bright side, I've eliminated all of the obvious places--they didn't help). But they got better with blocking, so I suspect that they'll eventually even up. And I think I really like the shaping, so I'm tentatively planning to use this shaping on the sweater for me.

I've finished the mittens for Schaefer, but no pictures yet. I'm really happy with them--but I need to sort out whether the top shaping is as straight forward as I think it is, or if it's secretly more complex. Both of mine worked out perfectly without any fussing, but it's possible that I just got lucky.

And a rowing FO:

My boat won! Not the whole thing, of course, but our event: mixed open fours with coxes. Admittedly, there were only 2 boats total... but on the other hand, we're very new rowers (but with an experienced cox, fortunately!). And we went faster than our practice race pieces, and didn't collapse too much at the end.

And hey, here's the sweater I've started for me:

Feels like it's taking forever, but I think that's because I'm mostly working on socks. (I've just turned the heel on the second of the current pair for Kevin, and started another pair for charity.)

Thursday, September 11, 2008


I have a feeling that I'm writing more about knitting (and therefore less about everything else) than usual (and also generally less, because I feel busier. I'm not sure what it is, but rowing seems to generate fewer stories than biking. Possibly because I don't fall out of the boat nearly as often. That's probably a great relief to my boat-mates, since they'd pretty much have to fall out too. Although it's apparently possible to be thrown out of the boat by the force of your oar (in which case, I'd be the only one in the water), I don't think we've rowing hard enough yet.

But we may find out on Sunday, as we're racing in the Coastweeks Regatta (whose website is not very informative at all), near Mystic CT. The race is 2000m, and my boat is in the mixed open 4+ event (mixed because there are both men and women, open because one of us is under 27, 4 because there are four of us, and + because there's a cox). It should be interesting--my boat is rowing much better than we were even last week (when you've only been doing something for about 31 hours total--plus 22 hours sculling at camp--you're still improving dramatically from one hour to the next), but that's mostly made it clear how much we still have to learn. As someone pointed out last night, we'll have 5 or 6 good strokes in a row, think "hey, we might be real rowers someday!" and immediately mess up.

The other way you can tell that I might be a real rower someday is that I have a track bite (a scraped spot on the back of my calf, from hitting the end of the track every time I straightened my legs... the reason there's a track, remember, is that the seats (and upper bodies of the rowers) move forwards and backwards while the feet are attached and the oars pivot around a fixed point). Actually, it's more of a track nibble, because it's pretty small--and almost entirely overshadowed by a large mosquito bite right next to it. But I know it's there, and I'm inordinately proud of it (but also glad we'll be using a different boat on Sunday, which isn't quite so pointy in that spot).

Tuesday, September 9, 2008


I'm deviating from my self-imposed three at a time project rule... the socks are kind of getting to me (I'm making Kevin another pair, since I had another skein in Kevin-friendly colors--grey, with occasional black bits--and it seemed a waste to keep it for myself. But gosh, does that extra bit of length seem interminable!). So, naturally, I thought I'd try something quick. Like a sweater!

On the bright side, it's a kid's sweater for Afghans for Afghans. Backstory: I started a sweater for me a few weeks back (not yet blogged or photographed, since there's only a couple of inches of it so far), a bottom-up seamless one, following one of the Elizabeth Zimmerman patterns from Knitting Without Tears. I'm not sure which one yet, and since they all start out the same way, I don't really need to decide till I've made the lower body and sleeves, and it's time to join them up. So I'm trying out the seamless hybrid construction.

I won't be able to try the kid's sweater on, of course, and I don't need to confirm that the directions work, but the one I'm going to make for me is knit with 2 strands of laceweight, on size 6 needles... so I want to be sure I'll like how the decreases look before I commit to it. I'm especially worried about the saddle portions, across the tops of the chest, since I've knit bands like that before, and not been crazy about them.

So to test that out, I'm making this kid's sweater. And compared to the socks, it's zipping along--I'm using Shepherd Classic 100% Wool, on size 8 needles. Practically chunky, compared to sock yarn on 1.5s. I knit the body on Saturday, started the sleeves Sunday, finished them and joined the parts yesterday, and worked some of the longest yoke rows just now.

Also speedy: the mitten I'm designing for Schaefer Yarns--they asked for cables, and after perusing my stitch libraries, I settled on adapting and reversing the cable-to-seed stitch sections from the sleeves of Rapunzel. The first one's just about done, and I think I'll have enough for a hat or ear warming headband thingy of some kind. What are those called, anyway... earwarmers?

Wednesday, September 3, 2008

Many Socks

I was at a conference last week, and got all kinds of knitting done (and I got to shop at Artfibers, with other archivist-knitters... but I'll save my purchases for another post).

Most excitingly, I finished the shawl I've been working on forever.

(There are a million more pictures on flickr, if you click on that photo... I may have gone a little overboard when I took pictures on Monday).

I'm going to write up the pattern to sell, I think, although the actual yarn I used has been discontinued (I think almost any laceweight yarn would work fine). The yarn I used is called Ariel, from the Natural Dye Studio--100% silk, 250 yards to 35 grams. I used almost all of 2 skeins--there was a fair bit of mathing to be sure I used as much of the yarn as possible, without going over and needing to rip back. The lace pattern is adapted from the Kimono Shawl in Folk Shawls (I took out a row to make it fit the shaping), and I added beads along the lower edge.

In my picture-taking excitement, I also got caught up on sock pictures (although I can't show my most recent pair here, as they're a present), and took pictures of a design I'm submitting for publication. Which of course I can't show either.

But here are the socks I can show:

This is pair 12 (they've been done for a couple of weeks). They're for Kevin, made from Anne. Even though his feet are bigger than mine, I still have enough of the skein left over to make socks (or at least anklets) for me, since the skeins are gigantic.

And pair 13:

Charlie's Wiggle Socks from New Pathways for Socks Knitters (finally, a pair whose fit I haven't complained about!) for new baby E. Since she was actually born, I've gone crazy making pink things, but these should help balance that out.

Finally, pair 14:

Last seen as a sock and a toe-warmer, now 2 socks.

I meant to take a break from socks while I was conferencing, but I had a little crisis on the plane there, and ended up making socks after all.

I'd started the shawl using a hand-me-down plastic circular needle from my grandma. Somewhere between Cincinnati and San Francisco, I was playing with the non-working end and it snapped! Of course the stitches slid off the break, and I worried that they'd start unraveling. But I remained calm (it helped that I didn't want my seat-mates to think I'd lost my mind... not after they'd just commented on how peaceful I seemed with my knitting... little do they know!).

I knit the stitches that had remained on the broken-off tip, then I used spare socks needles to carefully pick up the loose stitches. They'd only unraveled one row, so I reknit that section of that row, then knit the row I was on, then knit the stitches that hadn't fallen off from the broken tip to the intact one. Then I put the shawl away, and worked on socks.

The needle crisis meant that the first thing I did in San Francisco was drag Kevin to ArtFibers for a new needle. They only had bamboo, and I was worried it would be too sticky and the tip too blunt for lace--but they let me knit a bit with a similar needle before buying (great, huh?), and it turned out fine.

Speaking of Kevin, he did a crazy swimming and running thing last weekend (while I was calmly knitting at home, and trying not to think about sharks or currents!). He went to San Francisco early, to swim from Alcatraz (to Golden Gate Park, I believe) then run across the Golden Gate Bridge (and back). Look how tired he is! But he says it was fun. (That was at the end of the swim.)