Saturday, July 19, 2008

Humble Socks

I've finally made enough socks that I've started doing a little freestyling. This pattern draws from a number of different sources, that together made a sock I'm pretty happy with. It has enough going on to hold some attention, but is simple enough for a first sock, or to work on while chatting or listening to the radio. It adds texture to a self-striping yarn, and it would probably look good with a solid too.

I made these with Online Supersocke 100 (100 grams, 420 meters) and four US size 2 (2.75mm) double pointed needles.
Stitch gauge: 8 sts/inch
Row gauge: 11 rows/inch
Knit to fit a woman's US shoe size 8

Loosely CO 64 sts.

Ribbed cuff:
Row 1: P1, K1 around.
Row 2: P1, K1tbl around.
Repeat these two rows 7 times.

Beaded Rib pattern:
Row 1: P1, K1 around.
Row 2: P1, K3 around.
Repeat these two rows until cuff measures about 6 inches, or desired length, ending with a row 2.

Distribute 33 sts across needles 1 & 2. Slip what's left on needle 2 onto needle 3. The 31 sts on needle 3 will be the heel flap.

Eye of Partridge Heel Flap:
Rows 1 & 3: K1, p to last st, sl1 wyif.
Row 2: K1, *K1, Sl1 wyib, rep from * to last 2 sts, K1, Sl1 wyif.
Row 4: K1, *Sl1 wyib, K1, rep from * to last 2 sts, Sl1 wyib, Sl1 wyif.
Repeat rows 1 - 4 nine times total (36 rows), but in last repeat of row 4, end with Sl1 wyib, K1.

Turn heel:
Row 1: Sl1, P17, p2tog, p1, turn.
Row 2: Sl1, K6, SSK, K1, turn.
Row 3: Sl1, P7, p2tog, p1, turn.
Row 4: Sl1, K8, SSK, K1, turn.
Row 5: Sl1, P9, P2tog, P1, turn.
Row 6: Sl1, K10, SSK, K1, turn.
Row 7: Sl1, P11, P2tog, P1, turn.
Row 8: Sl1, K12, SSK, K1, turn.
Row 9: Sl1, P13, P2tog, P1, turn.
Row 10: Sl1, K14, SSK, K1, turn.
Row 11: Sl1, P15, P2tog, P1, turn.
Row 12: Sl1, K16, SSK, K1 (19 sts remain).

Pick up sts:
Pick up and knit 19 sts along side of heel flap (needele 1). Work all 33 instep sts in pattern (resume with row 1 of beaded rib pattern) onto needle 2. Pick up and knit 19 sts from other side of heel flap and K 9 heel sts onto needle 3.
90 sts total: 29 sts on needle 1, 33 sts on needle 2, 28 sts on needle 3.

Decrease for Instep:
Row 1: K across needle 1 to last 3 sts, K2tog, K1. Work in pattern across needle 2. K1, SSK, K to end of needle 3.
Row 2: K needle 1, pattern across needle 2, K needle 3.Repeat these two rows until 64 sts remain.

Continue needles 1 & 3 in st st, and needle 2 in pattern until sock measures 6.25 inches or 1.75 inches less than desired length.

Redistribute sts so that there are 16 sts each on needles 1 & 3, and 32 sts on needle 2. Begin decreasing for toe as follows.
Row 1: K across needle 1 to last three sts, K2tog, K1. On needle 2, K1, SSK, K across to last three sts, K2tog, K1. On needle 3, K1, SSK, K to end.
Row 2: K around.
Repeat these two rows until 32 sts remain (8 each on needles 1 & 2, and 16 sts on needle 2).
Then repeat only Row 1 until 16 sts remain (four each on needles 1 & 2, and 8 sts on needle 2). Knit four sts from needle 1 onto needle 3.

Leaving about a 12" tail, cut yarn. Graft toe using Kitchener stitch. Weave in ends and make another one!

Kitchener stitch:
With RS facing, hold one needle in front and the other in back, with working yarn coming from back right, threaded on small yarn needle.
Insert yarn needle into first st on front needle PURLWISE. Then insert yarn needle into first st on back needle KNITWISE.
*Next, insert yarn needle KNITWISE into first st on front needle, pull it off the needle, and insert yarn needle into second st on front needle PURLWISE. Next, insert yarn needle PURLWISE into first st on back needle, pull the st off the needle, and insert yarn needle into the second st on back needle KNITWISE. Repeat from * to end, pulling yarn through last st to finish off.
Be sure to keep the working yarn under the DPNs as you go. When you finish grafting, tug at yarn as needed to even it out and make it look like one continuous piece of knitting.

Wednesday, April 16, 2008

Dipping a toe back in

Thanks to some very gracious friends and co-workers, I'm dipping a toe back into the jewelry business. I don't expect to make many new things, but I still have quite a few things that I made a while ago, put away, and just revisited today. I listed a few on Etsy, and maybe I'll add some more later.

You can check it out at:

Tuesday, March 18, 2008

Humbled by a Bonnet

In the last year, I've taught a couple of friends to knit, started a weekly knit night, branched out to new techniques, and started thefirst level of the Knitters' Guild Master Knitter program. I know there's a lot left for me to learn about knitting-- more than I can possibly learn in a lifetime. That's a big part of what I love about it. And that's how I cooked up the name for this blog.
Of course, there are times when I think I have it sort of figured out, especially the basics. I can read a pattern, do a swatch, account for gauge differences, and have made quite a few useful things. I have also read enough about knitting to know that the great Elizabeth Zimmerman (EZ) is known for providing limited detail in her patterns. I was really happy with the results I got from her Very Warm Hat pattern, for which I did a little adjusting, so I thought I was well equipped to use another EZ pattern to make something for my friend's new nephew.
Here's the successful hat:

It fits my sister perfectly, and she says it's just what she wanted. I liked it so much, I started a second one for myself. But I have lots of hats, so back to the hat for the baby.
I chose the Katmandhu Hat/Bonnet from Spun Out #8. The pattern has a charming hand-drawing, but no photo for scale (ahem), and no size or dimensions. Wanting to be cautious, I looked with Google and on Ravelry to see what other knitters have done with this pattern. I found one project on Ravelry, and there wasn't much info, but a couple of pics of the bonnet on a toddler. With that, I decided I could assume that if I followed the pattern carefully, I'd end up with something appropriately sized for a baby or toddler. In my world, bonnets are definitely infant-wear, so that added to my confidence. I dutifully did my gauge swatch, adjusted the number of stitches to cast on, and got started. I've checked my math, and I am confident that my results were if anything, slightly smaller than EZ's pattern would rationally lead one to. And yet.
As you can tell by the beard, this bonnet turned out to be appropriately sized for my full-grown, adult male co-worker. Adorable, isn't it? He's just one of a number who've helped me get over my denial about this behemoth, and have given me some very therapuetic laughs about it.

It was a truly edifying knitting experience, and not just the acute humbling experience of having knitters and non-knitters alike seriously crack up at the extent of my denial as I kept on knitting and then went on with the finishing, and wondered whether I could still put it in the mail, convincing myself that it was a presentable baby gift.
A couple of more plausible suggestions were to find a "little old lady with a cold head" or convert to a religion in which I could fit in by wearing it myself.

Instead, I think I may just keep it as a reminder of the power of denial.

Wednesday, March 12, 2008

From Stumptown to Sock City

Anyone know Stumptown? It's my hometown, and wonderfully spring-like before spring comes to Minnesota. A good thing about living in Minnesota is the endless need one has for warm, knitted things. This place has made me absolutely passionate about good wool socks. I finished a pair of nice, simple ones on my trip.

These are done in the Yarn Harlot's basic sock recipe with no modifications other than the unavoidable alteration of my gauge, funky SSKs, etc. You can see a couple other photos and read more on the Socks in the Cities blog (link at right). I knit these in honor of the Yarn Harlot's upcoming visit to our fair city. I can't wait! In the meantime, I'll be working on these.

They're Monkey socks by Cookie A from Knitty, knitted on size 2.5mm with Regia Design Line by Kaffe Fassett.

Tuesday, March 11, 2008

The Epic Dad Sweater

I just got back a little while ago from my trip to visit my parents and help clean out their basement to prepare for some remodelling. It was way too quick, but very nice and pretty productive. I got there shortly after things started blooming and loved seeing daffodils, croci (crocuses?), camelias, etc., and lots of green, and mountains, and... As usual, visiting Portland made me want to move back. But there's too much to stay in Minnesota for, so here I am.
Basement and daffodils aside, this was a rather momentous trip in my knitting life. I finished and presented the sweater I've been making for my dad for about a year now. Here's a photo and my Ravelry project description:

Pattern: Saddle Shoulder Sweater from The Knitter's Handy Book of Sweater Patterns, by Ann Budd
Size: 46"
Yarn: KnitPicks Swish Superwash in Truffle, 15-17 balls (see below)
Needles: Size 6 for ribbing, size 8 for the body
Modifications: See note below about stitch pattern. I based the length on measurements of the green sweater, plus some length in the body.

In the early 1970s when my parents were first married, my mom knit a sweater for my dad. Since then, he's worn it so much that my sister actually questioned my honesty when I said I had seen a photo of him wearing another one. Family members have tried to get him to wear something else, resorting to cashmere for a pretty down-to-earth guy. But he hasn't worn any other. It's grown with him as much as possible, and is in remarkably good shape, despite a little fading and being a little too short now. Although this new sweater isn't particularly fancy, it's epic because of my effort to make the second hand-knit, precious sweater of his life. Because he's not much for change, I kept it about as similar as I could. I went for brown instead of green, and a slightly different, but equally subtle stitch pattern, but stuck with the saddle shoulder, crew neck style. I added a couple of inches in length for a better fit, and did K2-P2 rib instead of K1-P1. Each of these choices, however small, really mattered. I gave myself about a year for the project, and could have done it quite a bit faster if I were a one-at-a-time kind of knitter. Sadly, I'm not, and shortly before Christmas, I came to the realization that I was about to run out of yarn! Knit Picks had sold out of the dye lot by the time I accepted this, so I didn't get the rest of what I needed until a couple weeks ago. I ended up being able to hand-deliver it this weekend, so I got to see it on him in person, which was great. He drove off to work this morning wearing it, and seemed to like it. So, perhaps my epic quest for sweater number two has been successful.

Yarn note: I was very careful to order conservatively for this project-- or so I thought. Maybe a lot of yardage got used up by leaving long tails to avoid changing balls mid-row. At any rate, this combination of pattern and yarn didn't work out so well in that respect. On the bright side, the dye lots were identical as far as I could see.

Stitch note: To make this a little more interesting than stockinette, I twisted every fourth stitch in every fourth row, staggered. It adds just a little bit of texture, gave me something to pay attention to, and made it easier to make the pieces match up.

Wednesday, March 5, 2008

I'm in a yarn phase. And a new project phase. Hopefully I can get myself into a nice completion phase shortly and avoid getting buried in works in progress (WIPs).

I started slowly building up my Ravelry notebook this weekend, but it's going to take a good long time to fill in the stash and projects. I have to ask myself whether complete honesty about those to things is a good idea. Sure, it might help me to be more frugal, using existing stash and yarn from abandoned projects. But I'm not so sure that frugality is really the point. It's not that I'm rolling in the dough (more like rolling in the yarn!). Really it's about the entertainment I get from all these projects, the relationships I get to build with other knitters, and the pleasure of sharing the results, whether finished or not.

This week has been fairly productive in my knitting life. I made quick work of a Very Warm Hat (Elizabeth Zimmerman's pattern) for my sister. I'm nearing completion of the epic sweater for my dad (more on that later). I finished my first Yarn Harlot basic sock (knit-along here) and started the second. And I got pretty far along on the Hemlock Ring Doily Throw thanks to a late night binge-- I just love the pattern.

Soon I'll be heading to my hometown for a quick visit with my parents, and the ceremonious delivery of the epic sweater. With a couple of layovers, there should be a good bit of knitting done. Perhaps some finishing... or not.

Sunday, March 2, 2008

The down side of knitting is that it is tremendous fodder for procrastination. This weekend was designated for some much-needed cleaning. And here it is Sunday night, and instead of a clean apartment, I have the better part of a lovely striped sock. And it is lovely. I've been jealous of the Yarn Harlot's constant stream of socks in her basic recipe. They just look like such pleasant knitting with all the wonderful sock yarns there are to be had. And there are a lot of wonderful sock yarns to be had right here in this messy apartment! Today's yarn of choice is Austermann Step. It's infused with aloe vera and jojoba oil, so my fingers are nicely moisturized-- bonus! It knits up into wonderful wide stripes in some great colors. This pair has pea green, red, blue, and dark brown. Colors I wear often, so I guess the day hasn't been a complete waste. And the leftovers can go into the drawer for the sock yarn blankie (thanks to Shelly Kang!). I'll get pics up soon. But now I'd better wash a few dishes or I'll have to give myself a good talking to in the morning.