Tuesday, October 30, 2007


Socktoberfest Socks

Coming in just under the wire, his and hers Gentlemen's Half Hose in Ringwood Pattern, from Nancy Bush's Knitting Vintage Socks.

Mine were knit exactly according to pattern on US0 DPNs with Wollmeise Sockenwoole in Brombeere (light). The color here is pretty accurate. I love this yarn. And I especially love that there's plenty left over for a pair of gloves or something. Excuse the jeans showing; the socks are so tall, it was hard to keep my pants rolled up high enough. And they're both the same length, despite what the picture says.

His were modified, mainly because I was afraid that the Cherry Tree Hill Supersock (Bark) didn't have enough yardage for half-hose, but he's still got some tall-ish socks. I knit them with US1 DPNs, starting with 64 stitches and decreasing to 56 at the ankle (that ringwood pattern is stretchy!), with a Dutch heel, and worked the foot over 60 stitches. If I had known I'd have so much yarn left over, I'd have knit 40 rows of ribbing on his, too, instead of 20.

Wollmeise Ringwood Socks Ringwood Socks

I'd knit these again!

Monday, October 29, 2007

Sure is Monday.

I have one of those nifty alarm clocks from Brookstone where you just tell it your time zone and it automatically sets the time. If the power goes out in the middle of the night (or any other time), it resets itself when it comes back on. And it automatically changes for daylight savings time. Except. Congress lengthened daylight savings time, and no one told my clock. So I slept an hour late and was sitting in my bathrobe eating my Cheerios when I realized, it's 8:56!!! I had showered last night, so all I needed was fresh clothes, a ponytail, and a little makeup. Except. As soon as I got up to get dressed, I got the hiccups. And then I couldn't find my brown shoes. Thankfully, I was still only ten minutes late getting out the door.

The other thing hanging over my head today is the High Neck Cable. I bought the pattern and yarn for this sweater without knowing much about it. The photo on kpixie is tiny, but it was such a pretty picture that I got swept up. It was such an impulse buy, in fact, that I didn't even notice that the yarn is a single. I should have been paying better attention.

The pattern doesn't have any schematics or final measurements, and that, together with the pretty but detail-and-fit-hiding photo should have been enough to warn me off of it. But no. Instead, I struggled with choosing a correct size. I'm plump, but mostly busty, and I never knit to my full bust measurement unless the garment is meant to be layered. I split the difference between my bra band size and my bust measurement and knit to that (40"), adding in some short rows. So far this tactic has worked to produce sweaters that fit both my shoulders and my bust, which is more than I can say for just about any commercial sweater.

Well, Ms. High Neck is written to fit 36-38 or 40-42. So what to do? Should I knit up for my bust size to get the right ease, or just knit the largest size? I settled on the largest size.

But first the swatch. The gauge is 18 stitches over 4 inches, or 4.5 st/in, and the recommended needle size is US7. I swatched on 7s and got 4 st/in. So I went down to a US6 and got 4.25 st/in. I stopped there because I liked the fabric -- if it was any more dense I'd never have occasion to wear it! -- and that extra quarter stitch per inch would only produce an extra 2.5 inches in the final garment, and I might need that ease.

So off I went and got to about an inch past the ribbing when I realized that I didn't know how much ease the pattern had written into it, so how could I know that an extra 2.5" would be ok? So, out comes the calculator. 204 sts divided by 4.25 st/in equals.... 48"!!! 48!! That's going to be way too big.

But all is not lost, I told myself. I haven't knit much, and I wouldn't want the ribbing to be tight on my hips, anyway. I'll decrease down to 40" for the waist, and then go back up to the next largest size for the bust and shoulders. That should give me some ease through the midsection and then a nice fit through the shoulders.

And so I did.

High Neck Cable

And then I started to get nervous. It looked small. I ignored it at first-- of course it looks small, it's bunched up on a 36" needle at the top, and drawn in by ribbing at the bottom. After a while, though, I couldn't take it any more. I slipped half of the stitches on another circular needle and carefully shimmied it over my hips.


It fits, but there is no ease.

So now I have to decide what to do.

Right now I'm thinking I should rip back and re-knit, leaving the shaping on the back (I'm kind of proud of that) but not doing anything at the front except maybe bust darts. Or maybe I should just rip back to the increases and increase back up to the largest size for a very hourglass shape. I can definitely block it a little larger (the swatches grew a little when washed), and the alpaca will probably stretch with wear anyway. It is soft enough to wear right next to the skin, so I don't need to leave room for layers.

High Neck Cable

I need to try it on again before I decide. And measure gauge on the actual sweater.

P.S. My email has been acting up for a while now. I type an email and hit "send" and it either sends or it vanishes, and I never know which. It also sends multiples of messages sometimes, or won't delete emails. Fun times. I think it has something to do with the .mac server. Every time I think it's fixed, it comes to light that someone else never got that email I sent. So if you've commented and haven't heard from me, it's not because I'm snobby. Either Blogger has hidden your email from me (which you may or may not have wanted -- check your settings) or I think I have replied but my computer ate my email. I do appreciate hearing from you.

Saturday, October 27, 2007

Repeating myself

There was a time (a few weeks ago) when I wouldn't even consider knitting the same pattern twice. But, as it turns out, that's the only way this selfish knitter is willing to knit for others. Ringwood socks for DH? But I want some Ringwood socks. OK, I'll knit two pair. Revolutionary. Mom wants a cabled cardigan? I want a cable-y sweater, too. Two cabled sweaters, coming right up. I even considered doing the same pattern for myself, but decided on the High Neck Cable in Blue Sky Alpacas Suri Merino instead. Apparently I have a thing for cabled sweaters in alpaca merino blends.

Cabled Sweaters

Speaking of her cardi, you'll notice that I followed Elizabeth Zimmermann's sage advice and knitted a hat as a swatch, to get that elusive in-the-round gauge.I have since decided to knit the sweater flat. Does that mean I knit another swatch? Of course not. And did I swatch for my in-the-round sweater with another hat? Nope, I swatched it flat. Genius at work, I tell ya.

Also, remember earlier this week I mentioned that I was hoping to bring on some colder weather by knitting for it? Well, on Monday it was cool enough to wear that Koolhaas hat, and the morning after I started these Frostrosen Mittens, we had frost advisories all over the area. Coincidence?


I better get back to those Ringwood socks before Socktober is over!

Thursday, October 25, 2007

Fall Colors Socks


This was the yarn that I petted every time I visited my stash. It had so much potential. When it is fall, I thought, you will become socks. So, when I saw this in our backyard, I knew it was time.

Fall begins

I wound the yarn into a cake and put it in my purse. Things started out well. I decided to learn a few new tricks, so I started with Judy's Magic cast-on. I was hoping for more random color placement, but, the spiraling was ok. I was even starting to 'get' Koigu. Knit on size 1s, these socks had an entirely different feel than my first foray, the Embossed Leaves socks.

striping koigu

I turned the heel (using Wendy's toe-up gusset) and then, suddenly, pooling. I thought Koigu wasn't supposed to do that! I suppose "random color placement" must include both spiraling and pooling. Kind of like how your iPod will chose the same songs over and over when you set it to random. 50/50 odds doesn't mean that half the time you get heads and half the time you get tails; you can flip heads every time. Or, in this case, tails.

pooling koigu

I used to wonder (before I learned that there are not only people who don't mind pooling, but also people who like it) what on Earth would cause someone to finish knitting a sock that looked like that, let alone knit a mate for it. And now I know: the same thing that causes traffic jams at accident sites, morbid curiosity. Is it going to get better? Is it going to get worse? When will it end? Until I ran out of yarn. And also, if it's your purse sock, you knit it even when it gets ugly or you have no knitting.

So, for the second sock, I figured I'd continue the theme of trying something new. At this point, what did I have to lose? This time, short row toes. Of course, I cast on 30 instead of 32 and didn't realize it until I was almost done with the toe (major disadvantage of short-row toes!), but, I figured, whatevs, these socks are fugly, I'll just increase to 64 on the first row. The Koigu answered with some more "random color placement." Despite my mistake, I think I prefer the short row toes. I just tied a slip knot with a decently-long tail, and used the tail for my provisional cast-on; no waste yarn required.

Short row toe

I used the same heel, but I reversed the direction of the shaping, using k2tog and ssp instead of ssk and p2tog. Sula's right, that does look better. You can see the difference below, the second sock is on the right.

What could possibly happen next? More spiraling. And then more pooling.

garter cuffs

I topped them both with my garter stitch cuff, holding my breath that there would be enough yarn to finish.

fall colors socks fall colors socks

And there you have it: a tragedy in handpainted yarn. Unless you like that sort of thing. And, adding insult to injury, they're baggy.

At least I have a trusty toe-up recipe now. But I may be off socks for a bit!

Monday, October 22, 2007

Yes, I do like this color; why do you ask?

socks, hat

Two Finished Objects today, both in shades of plum. Well, technically, cherries and garnet. And both with cashmere content. I've always been a firm believer (or at least fervent hoper) that you can bring on winter weather by dressing for it. That hasn't worked yet, but maybe knitting for it will?

First up, Little Child's Socks from Nancy Bush's Knitting Vintage Socks.

Little Child's Sock

The yarn is the Merino Cashmere 4-ply sock from The Knittery in Cherries. Whereas* their merino sock is a little thin for US1s, the merino cashmere is a little thick. It could stand to go up to a 1.5 (2.5 mm), but the firmer fabric should help with the wear of these soft fibers.

I wouldn't recommend fancy patterns for this yarn, as it's a little splitty. I started with the Traveler's Stockings from Knitting on the Road, but ripped in frustration and chose this simpler knit/purl pattern instead, and I'm quite pleased with it.

Little Child's Sock

I really like the cast-on for these socks: long-tail with the yarn held doubled. It makes guesstimating the length of the tail a little difficult, and you have three ends to weave in at the top instead of two, but it is so stretchy. I never would have thought that doubling the yarn would make that much difference.

These socks are like chocolate for your feet. I'm so glad I finally finished them.

* I can't beleive I just used whereas in a sentence; what's next, hereinafter? Dropping this in a footnote doesn't really help me on the nerd factor, does it?

Second, Jared Flood's Koolhaas hat from Interweave Knits Holiday Gifts.


I used The Fibre Company's Road to China in Garnet, about one and a quarter skeins. This yarn is a cornucopia of fibers: 65% Baby Alpaca, 10% Cashmere, 10% Camel, 10% Soya Fiber, and 5% Yak. Each fiber takes the dye differently, creating a nice subtle play of color.


I twisted the ribbing on the brim for continuity, and my row gauge was off, so I just knit until it was long enough before starting the decreases instead of following the pattern exactly.

I really enjoy knitting hats. Especially when I realize that I don't have to keep track of exactly what I'm doing, becuase I only have to knit one.

Saturday, October 20, 2007

So quiet today.

I woke up this morning to discover that the TV and internet had gone down for the third time this week. The good news is, each time a technician has been sent out the same day. The bad news is, that means I got to spend a Saturday waiting for the tech, and then waiting for him to fix the problem, hopefully for good this time.

My husband is out on unpleasant business, and, while I feel bad for him, I can't help but enjoy the solitude. The dogs are tired from barking at the technician, and there is quiet all around me. So, after I made some good headway on Mom's cardi, I started a new project.


Now, if I can only grab a snack without upsetting this delicate balance. I do love alone time.

Thursday, October 18, 2007

Sock Repair

Trekking Socks + Bruneaux =

Damaged Socks

My husband was very distressed to learn the hard way that leaving your dirty handknit socks laying around isn't a very good idea.

Knitter to the rescue!

First, I snipped one yarn at the lowest point of the damage and unraveled it around the sock to release the chewed part, putting the freed loops on the needles as I went.

Repairing Socks

I suppose the best way to go about this would have been to take off all of the ribbing and reknit it, holding the yarn doubled for the last round and the sewn bind-off to best approximate the cast-on edge of the other sock (long-tail with the yarn held doubled).

But I wasn't feeling that ambitious -- I need more proof that these socks will be cared for before I put that kind of effort in -- and I wasn't certain I had enough yarn for all that, so I just removed the damaged part and reknit it. You can see where the ribbing is half a stitch off where the knitting changes direction, but it doesn't bother me too much. I cast off in pattern using a larger needle and doubled yarn.

Repaired Socks

It's not perfect, but it's better than it was!

Wednesday, October 17, 2007

The view from here

Wildflower SocksWildflower Socks
Wildflower socksWildflower Socks

Basic socks in The Knittery 4-ply Merino Sock, Wildflowers colorway. (I got mine from The Loopy Ewe.) The yarn is deliciously soft, and the colorway had Tom Petty playing in my head whenever I knit with it. I knit these on size 1s, but in the future (I have some more in Earth) I'll go down to 0s for this yarn, as it's a little on the thin side. It will be interesting to see what that does to the color patterning.

There was a time when basic socks would be on the needles for months before being finished, but I've discovered that if I keep my hands busy while reading boring work stuff, I stay more focused, feel happier, and am less inclined to take a Ravelry break. And, I get more socks.

Sunday, October 14, 2007

Too big for my britches?

Recently, upon examining my knit kit, the Ziploc baggie that I move from storage ottoman to knitting bag of the day, I felt a smugness at the relics of the youth of my knitting career. 'See these stitch markers and row counters?,' I said to myself, 'I can't remember when I used them last. I must be getting better at this.'

And yet, I've been procrastinating on the second of the Little Child's Socks. Why? Because the pattern is written row-by-row, and that just requires a lot of counting and paying attention. But, wait, don't I have a tool for that?

Little child's sock

Progress has resumed. That '04 means row 104, as in 5 rows from the heel flap. Oh, yeah.

Edit: Oh, and did you catch on My Name is Earl this week that Joy made socks for Earl? That show just went up a few notches in my book.

Saturday, October 13, 2007


I finally received my replacement size 7 Harmony tips yesterday, and wouldn't you know it, one of them was mis-threaded. But, between the first set and the replacement set, I have two working tips and was finally able to swatch for Mom's cardi.


The yarn (Plymouth Suri Merino) is incredibly soft, but it makes my nose itch a little bit.

Thursday, October 11, 2007

Not quite a pair.

Ringwood Socks

I can't believe how much I'm enjoying simultaneously knitting two pairs of socks in the same pattern. No second sock syndrome, or even third or fourth sock syndrome. It must be the quick-knitting stitch pattern, the clever shaping, the slight modifications for my husband's socks, the beautiful yarn, and the perfect fit.

Ringwood sock

Just like the two of us: variations on a theme. Me: by the book; him: more experimental.

Sunday, October 7, 2007

Parade of Socks

For Soctoberfest, a chronicle of my sock-knitting career:

Cable Rib Socks
Erica Knight
Cable Rib Socks
Claudia Handpainted
for me
Eesti Trial Hiking Socks
Nancy Bush
Eesti Trail Hiking Socks
Wool of the Andes
for MIL
Entrelac Socks
Eunny Jang
Entrelac Socks
Knit Picks Essential
for me
Gentleman's Shooting Stockings
Nancy Bush
Gentleman's Shooting Stockings
Knit Picks Essential Tweed
for DH
Friday Harbor Socks
Nancy Bush
Friday Harbor
Mountain Colors Bearfoot
for me
Basic Socks
Yarn Harlot
Basic Sock Recipe
Artyarns Ultramerino
for me
Spey Valley Socks
Nancy Bush
Spey Valley
Cherry Tree Hill
for DH
German Stockings
Cookie A
German Stockings
Lorna's Laces Shepherd Sock
for me
Vesper Socks
my design
Vesper Redux
Vesper Sock
for me
Minerva's Argyles
my design
Minerva's Argyles
Knit Picks Gloss
for me
Embossed Leaves
Mona Schmidt
Embossed Leaves
for me
Swirl Sock
Swirl Socks
Lorna's Laces Shepherd Sock
for me
Arch-Shaped Norwegian Stockings
Nancy Bush
Norwegian Stockings
Dale of Norway Heilo
for me
Nancy Bush
Louet Gems Pearl
for Grandma
Mom's Birthday Socks
Ann Budd
Cowgirl's Slipper Socks
Claudia Haindpainted
for Mom
Grandma's Birthday Socks
Nancy Bush
Child's French Sock
Louet Gems Pearl
Plain Trekking Socks
my design
basic sock with round toe
Trekking XXL
for DH
Anniversary Socks
Nancy Bush
Anniversary Socks
Dream in Color Smooshy
for me

Counting the socks-in-progress, that's 50% Nancy Bush! Also, mostly for myself. I'm a selfish little knitter, but I have warm feet!