Monday, December 31, 2007

Don't Forget! I Need Lacy Wedding Ideas!

This post is going to sit at the top of the blog for a while, so I can implore, wheedle, cajole and beg my readers to keep my need for input into lacy wedding outfit ideas in mind while browsing the Internets. This blog post has the details and the collection of suggestions from readers, as well as an ongoing list of things I have run across.

I'm just asking you to keep an eye out for something that would look nice on a short, medium-weight currently red-headed woman who will be 50 at her wedding (I hate to admit that). I was thinking of wearing a lacy cardigan or jacket over a silk dress (the dress will be picked to go with the lace item). I would consider a shrug or maybe a shawl. The wedding will either be in the spring or the fall, and as far as we know will be outdoors (I would not survive an outdoor wedding in Texas).* So think not-too-hot, not-too-cold.

If you see anything on the web or Ravelry, post a comment on this post or The original blog post and I will be grateful! Thanks!

*Lee gets a vote in all these decisions, so I don't know exactly what we are doing until we get around to deciding.

Still Here, with Shag!

Shag Scarf
Originally uploaded by sunasak
Happy New Year tomorrow! Here I am in my funky glasses celebrating with a very celebratory completed Shag scarf. And that's it arranged like a lovely bouquet on the left. I liked it so much I think I will do another one in leftover Noro Kujaku. The scarf looks funny while you are making it, but as you can see, it's cute when worn! And it is warm--I wore it on a long hike across Lee's dad's farm and it was very helpful.

Yesterday we drove to Lee's dad's farm (as referred to above), and I got to give him the house socks I made for him. He was SO pleased. He put on the blue ones and did not take them off. They looked great. He said they made his feet feel springy and warm. It is so wonderful to give a gift that is so well appreciated. I finished the shag scarf while we watched football, and started another one, the Brooklyn Tweed striped one, just for fun. I'm not sure why I am on a scarf kick, but it could be worse!

Here's the link to the PDF of the Shag pattern, again, in case you want to run off and make one:

Of course, the cardigan is moving along, but it is not very exciting to show photos of pieces of a stockinette item made in pieces. They are all curled up and icky looking, though they feel GOOD. I finished the left front and am moving along on the right front now. It's a pleasure to work with the Ultra Alpaca, and it makes me happy to see Lee eagerly anticipating wearing it.

More tomorrow I hope!

Thursday, December 27, 2007

Making Progress

Yes, these are the same socks as yesterday, just a better photo. You can see both the side and front view on this one. Since they are in the process of being worn and I hope worn a lot, I thought I should memorialize them now!!

I made good progress yesterday in knitting, and managed to finish the acres and acres of stockinette that constitutes the back of the cardigan, plus two pocket liners. It's off to knit the fronts now!

It probably was not brilliant of me to go to the LYS while they are having their inventory reduction sale...hard to resist getting yarn! But I didn't get too much. I just got two skeins of Noro Iroha in black to use with all my leftover Kureyon or Silk Garden (can't decide) for one of those extra-popular Brooklyn Tweed Noro scarves. Why? I need a plain ole workaday scarf and only have fancy ones and that big one with the pattern in the sidebar (which did keep cold wind off me yesterday!). I also got three balls of Mili Colori, which is a single ply random-striping yarn I just love to look at, to make a second Shag scarf as a gift for someone. I just enjoy doing it! All that was less than $30, so not too bad.

I needed to see other humans anyway, so it was nice to hang out with the friendly yarn shop patrons and chat a while. Mostly I bragged about my son's Christmas gift, which was a really touching plaque thanking me for being a good mom to him...this from the easiest child to parent on the face of the earth--but I sure appreciated it.

Not much knitting in the evening, because we went to see Juno, an excellent movie that was perfect for a family with teens. The vocabulary was dead on accurate--and the subject matter really good.

That's it for today. I hope to have some cardigan photos tomorrow.

Wednesday, December 26, 2007

Gifts Received and Revealed

Yay, I can finally show you the socks I made for my fiance for Christmas (though I am sure he saw them in my knitting bag). I call them the Slightly Interesting School Color Socks on Ravelry, because they are the colors of St. Edward's University, and I just couldn't knit them plain, so I made them slant in the center. What looks like a seam down the side is where I increased every other row.

On the second picture you can see that I did a centered double decrease (my new fave stitch) in the middle, which makes a sort of strange, yet pleasing effect. The socks have a solid blue cuff because I was worried that I would not be able to get full socks out of the skein. I probably could have, but I like the cuff.

There's a string showing, because I didn't weave in the top end--I wanted to be sure Lee was OK with the length, so I thought I might be needing to take off the cuff and add some of the remaining body yarn to lengthen them. HE liked them as is. The yarn is Hill Country Yarns Instant Gratification Sock Yarn, which is sport or DK weight. I knit the socks at 55 stitches around, which yes, is a weird number. Lee liked the fit (a little tight). I was happy that I figured out how to make my favorite toe-up flapped heel with 25 stitches. Go me. And the short rows look marvy.

My other gifts were all received with great gusto. My older son wants the Half Pipe hat blocked a bit, because the top seems a little pointy. Lucha Libre went over extremely well, as one can see. And all the relatives I sent gifts to in North Carolina raved about them as well. All in all, my holiday knitting was a success. Maybe I will do more next year!

I am into the third ball of blue Ultra Alpaca on Lee's cardigan, and I held it up to him--what a relief that the width seems good and he liked how long it was from armhole down. I hope to finish the back today. It is a LOT of knitting, but I only have a couple more inches of back, which goes faster after the armhole decreases. Every so often I knit another unit onto the Shag Scarf. It's a reward!

Happy knitting to all!

Sunday, December 23, 2007

Weekend Knitting

Shag scarf
Originally uploaded by sunasak
While patiently working away on Lee's cardigan, I just could not HELP myself from starting this little scarf. I love the yarn and the pattern is such a hoot! You build triangles that rise from the scarf base in a happy 3D way, and it's especially fun the way the yarn changes colors. I highly recommend this project for fun knitting and a good gift (except mine is for me!). This is the Shag scarf from Knitting New Scarves, a book with some weird looking items, but lots of fun things to do (other bloggers have made much harder items from the book, but this one is fine with me! [Edited to include a link to the FREE version of the pattern, so you can go knit one now]

I'm still going to work on the cardigan, plug away on Juno Regina when I get tired of stockinette, and work on my sock when I need some tiny knitting to work on. Lots of fun to distract me from interviews!

Happy holiday knitting!

Saturday, December 22, 2007

I Took a Road Trip

Yesterday, after the requisite interviews (thankfully, just phone ones so I wasn't too wiped out), Jody and I went on a pilgrimage to two local yarn shops that I don't get to often.

First we went to the Knitting Nest, which neither of us had ever been to. That's because it is as far in southeast Austin as I am in northwest Austin, and I'd never had the time to check it out. It's only been open a few months. I saw all sorts of places in south-est Austin that I had never seen before, including a huge shopping center over where Lilith Fair was once upon a time. We really enjoyed the shop--what a cute little building it's in, and what nice decor they have going!

Mostly I appreciated how the owner has selected yarn lines that complement the other shops in town, rather than competing with them. I got to touch many lovely things I'd never touched before, and that's what I want in a new yarn shop--fun new yarn experiences. The Peace Fleece and O-Wool were really lovely. The picture shows one of the yarns I picked up--Bo Peep's Not Just for Socks Yarn in Indian Corn, from Farmhouse Yarns. I'd never seen it anywhere else. I think it wants to be a scarf. I also got Soxx Appeal yarn with elastic in it and a type of Online Supersocke that my LYS doesn't have yet--Hiking, which was really interesting in the sample that was knit up.

Jody and I had a very nice conversation there, ran into someone else we knew (of course), and were glad we'd made the trip. I hope to get down there more regularly--maybe to one of the Knit Nights or whatever they have.

After a delicious lunch we hiked all the way up Congress Avenue to Hill Country Weavers, where we got to touch some new yarn with camel in it that felt divine, and had nice colors. There were some real doozies of new and different yarns there. I did get one skein of Araucania sock yarn, because I'd never seen that in person before. Then I found the perfect fairly inexpensive stuff to make the Shag scarf from Knitting New Scarves, which I have decided I must do. It's Nashua Wooly Stripes, which I think would make that pattern really festive.

Whew, that was a lot of yarn fun, and I felt bad about spending money on yarn, but it shows how optimistic I must be on the job front, huh.

Today I got a lot done on Lee's cardigan at "my" LYS, where I didn't have any students but helped some other folks--I got over halfway up the boring expanse of the back. Now I may just give that scarf a whirl before going back to the cardigan. Wee.

Thursday, December 20, 2007

Brush with Fame!

Hey, go visit the Mason-Dixon knitting blog and read the December 19 post. I was sleepily reading along, relishing not having to go to work and no interview until the afternoon. Then, I spotted something odd. I said to myself, "Wow, that woman in that picture sure looks a lot like a friend of mine." Then WHOA, I realized that Katie is in New York City and that IS her in the picture! She helped sew up their big blanket! That is a fun vacation activity!!! Of course, they said she was from "Houston" but I know she is from AUSTIN. What a nice surprise.

Wednesday, December 19, 2007

Lucha Liberated!

EEK! Do not be afraid! It's jut me, modeling the completed Lucha Libre ski mask/balaclava/Mexican wrestling mask. I hope Beccano likes it! I think I look pretty funny in it. I guess it would make an easy Halloween costume, plus, if I am ever in a frigid climate, I could borrow it.

I kept switching back and forth with how I did the green parts. Some stranding, some little bits of yarn for more classic intarsia. In any case, here it is. Yvonne, don't do this as your first intarsia project--it might drive you crazy!

But, I know my boy will love it and that's what counts. One more holiday gift to finish (today) and I will be done. I can't post a picture of that one, since the recipient reads the blog.

Hi to everyone doing fun things (Katie!) and to those of you frantically dealing with holidays and relatives. I am frantically interviewing, but that is mostly fun. I truly appreciate everyone's support and vibes!

Off to another fun day at the yarn shop, where I am going to start a new project, a cardigan for Lee. In Ultra Alpaca. HA! That one won't be torture, will it??? Yum!

Bathtime Blossoms for the Holidays

Bathtime Blossoms
Originally uploaded by sunasak
This was my weekend knitting project. I realized there was a relative who needed something, and I knew that this would be a good choice--Bathtime Blossoms, by Evelyn Clark, a Fiber Trends pattern. There are three variants, but the "Blossom" one is my favorite. I also made the matching soap sack, and put a lovely bar of soap inside it. This knits up quickly--it was done over a weekend that included a lot of time shopping in scenic Fredericksburg, Texas, a visit to a friend who makes hand-made outdoor furniture near Kerrville, and a long hike around the incredibly beautiful Enchanted Rock. So, not all that much knitting time!

Yeah, I had a GREAT weekend with my sweet man Lee, buoyed by knowing I had job interviews all lined up. Amazing how that helps. If you want to see more of the trip photos, click the Flickr gallery link in the left column. You might have to go through a couple of others, but they will be the 50+ ones of interesting buildings and rocks after that. Really pretty rocks.

Keep thinking of me. The place I phone interviewed at yesterday wants me back today for in-person, and the place where I met Lee wants me in tomorrow for an interview for a great job at great pay. I haven't even had time to look for NEW jobs this week!

Sunday, December 16, 2007

Lucha Libre-ing along

I've been out of town all weekend, but thought I would share my progress on Lucha Libre as of Friday. Scary looking, isn't it? And in the close-up you can see decorative pug hairs on it, too.

Because of all the little balls of yarn, I did not take this project with me over the weekend. But, I am thinking I'll have it done in the next day or two. There are just a few more green rows, and after that, it's smooth sailing.

I still wonder why this could not have been done in the round. People do intarsia in the round! Or so I am told. Beccano is quite pleased with the progress, of course. I am feeling a bit under the weather (after a lovely trip to Fredericksburg, Texas and the amazing Enchanted Rock) so I'm not really up to thinking much about knitting right now...but, I did want to share with my knitting blog readers that on Friday, 5 different job possibilities emerged out of nowhere! I have interviews on Monday and Tuesday, and think I will have at least two, perhaps three more. From famine to feast!

Tomorrow I'll show you what I made over the weekend. It's what I hope is the last Christmas knitting I will have to do!

Friday, December 14, 2007

Knitting Dorkiness

It's true, I am not really fond of intarsia. All that tangling and skeining. I did a lot of untangling as I worked on the Lucha Libre ski mask/balaclava thing last night. It's a good thing I love Beccano and know he will love it, because otherwise I'd give up due to lack of fun. I also seem incapable of following a chart accurately. But, it still looks like a Lucha Libre mask, and it's up to the middle of the nose. I think it will be cute, in any case, though I'd prefer to have done it in the round. Or maybe with duplicate stitch. Not really. I'm just whining.

I'll have plenty of time to knit this weekend as Lee and I go on a little field trip to Fredricksburg, just to get out of town, then all next week I will knit away, mostly at the LYS hoping for customers for knitting classes. I am going to try posting a few on Craigslist to see if that works. No one else is doing that locally, though the other yarn shops have done great jobs with email lists, blogs, announcements on the radio, Ravelry lists and such. It's good practice for all those online community jobs I have been applying for, anyhow.

I have done a bit on my Garden Path socks, when I get tired of intarsia, plus a gift I am working on. So, soon there will be finished object photos to share again!

I wish you all the best in your last-minute holiday knitting, if you are still at it like I am!

Wednesday, December 12, 2007

Half Pipe Hat FO

Half Pipe Hat
Originally uploaded by sunasak
Here is the Half Pipe Hat from Son of Stitch 'N Bitch, on the head of Beccano. It will show up better if you look at the picture link. On Flickr there is one of it on my head, which shows the hat better but it an ugly photo.

The hat is a bit small on Beccano, but as he points out, he has a very big head. I think it will be OK on Tuba Boy. It was a pain sewing in the brim (it is plastic needlepoint canvas), but it is an interesting looking hat once it's done. I only used a wee bit of the second skein of yarn, so I think I may try to make some wrist warmers or something out of the rest of it. Such nice yarn.

I admit I didn't graft the top like the instructions said, and instead used three-needle bind off. Really, I WAS going to graft, but I had left the book with the excellent grafting chart that even I, "Suna the Grafting Challenged," could understand at home. And by the way, the illustration that finally clicked to me where I was messing up with grafting is in the new Best of Interweave Knits book. That book is worth buying for the little Ann Budd tutorials in it. They are great ways to up your Mad Knitting Skillz, as the kids would say.

Next I am going to make the Lucha Libre balaclava out of the same Stitch 'n Bitch book, for Beccano, who really likes to wear masks and odd headgear. It will be black with lime green trip. How special. We'll see if I am as skillful with intarsia techniques as I used to be, though really there isn't too much in this. Of course, intarasia in the round can be a pain, but, I am a good weaver-in of yarn ends! I have my trusty tools, so I can do it!

I am glad I got that Stitch 'n Bitch book. For some reason, the original one didn't do much for me. I really didn't like any of the patterns (I know, this will shock and upset many of you) and didn't find the instructions that helpful, either. I realize I am not that book's target audience (too skilled and too old--I just don't wear Junior fashions and haven't since the early 80s). However, many excellent newer knitters I know learned from Stitch 'n Bitch, and I know it had a lot to do with the recent upsurge in knitters and knitting, so I think it is a fine and dandy book, even if it isn't appealing to me, personally.

Reflecting a bit, I think part of it is my issue with wearing the same pattern everyone else on earth is wearing--I saw SO many of the same things on people when that book first came out! I guess I want to be the only one wearing my thing in any crowd (still, I did make those Monkey Socks, didn't I? But no clapotis, no way and never a My So Called Scarf or whatever that other new sensation is).

Hey, really, though. As long as your knitting away and enjoying yourself, who am I to say what to knit? And some people like to be one of the "in" crowd, which is why so many join KALs even when they don't really need help with a project. Oops, I did two KALs recently, but smaller ones. I really, really am glad so many people have started knitting and crocheting, and hope to see many of them continue throughout their whole lives. I'm certainly not going to stop. I kept going through the acrylic years, didn't I?

Tuesday, December 11, 2007

Surprise: I love a thick yarn

Cascade 128 7619
Originally uploaded by sunasak
It surprises me, that's for sure. I am truly LOVING knitting with this Cascade 128 Tweed. It is bulky weight, but perfect for the hat I am knitting from it (Half Pipe Hat from Son of Stich 'n Bitch). It looks so manly and rugged in the ribbing part of the hat, and warm and thick in the top part. I will be sad to finish (which should happen today, or would if I didn't have to sing a lot this evening). I keep thinking this would make a wonderful, warm waistcoat kinda vest to wear over a white shirt. Wow, me liking a big yarn. The last one I liked was the Schaeffer Elaine I made a shrug out of (which I am wearing today.)

The yarn's making my pale wooden needle a little gray (all my other size 3s were in use), but otherwise, it's just wonderful stuff. Very comforting. I can't wait to show you all a picture of it!

That's it for me--I am knitting as much as I can, when the family circumstances let me, and not doing much else!

Monday, December 10, 2007

Suna's New Pathway

Here's the product of my weekend's knitting. I made three pairs of socks using techniques from New Pathways for Sock Knitters by Cat Bordhi. I was informed on Friday that there was going to be a baby shower for a couple in my choir, and since I can't contribute monetarily to a gift, I figured I'd make socks. And why not learn something at the same time?

There isn't quite as much page turning and number calculating in the baby socks as there is in the larger ones, so I had a pretty fun time. The first ones I made are Little Sky, the white spotted ones, which I used worsted weight yarn I'd dyed with Kool Aid last year. The yarn sure looks cute. The second ones are the pink Coriolis ones. I do want to make some Coriolis socks, so at some point I'll break down and resign myself to knitting a whole pair of socks with a book at my side. The blue-ish socks are Charlie's Wiggle Socks. They are way cuter than the photo in the book, and were probably the most fun to make. I tried to not think of umbilical cords while making the cables (and watching the movie Shaolin Soccer, what a combo). Not sure why Cat had to put THAT image in my head. I'm glad I had a reason to knit the practice socks. Now I am ready for some new pathways in adult size socks!

It helped a lot to get all the knitting I wanted to get done accomplished. I felt in control of something in my life! I also got more done on the Juno Regina--it's probably halfway done by now. Plus, I started the Half Pipe Hat out of Son of Stitch 'n Bitch for Tuba Boy. I love the yarn I chose, Cascade 128. It is a very thick tweedy yarn, black with flecks. I thought it would give the right gauge, since the pattern called for two skeins of camel yarn, but it's even thicker than two skeins of camel, so I had to go way down in needle size to get gauge (size 3, where the original calls for 9). But, it's not too tight or anything--fits his head, and he seemed really happy with the progress so far. I'd like a hat out of that yarn, myself. I can't wait to put in the little brim! This will be a quick and pleasant knit. Aah.

Thanks for looking at all the patterns I posted! I have a few more, then will go more slowly and add them as I make them. A couple of things people have asked for patterns for I just can't do--some of my sweaters and socks are too "improvised," so I can't write them down.

Saturday, December 8, 2007

Very Warm Linen Stitch Scarf with Bobble Fringe

Linen Stitch Scarf
Originally uploaded by sunasak

This scarf hung in my local yarn store for a long time, and I sold copies of the pattern. I've decided to share it, instead, so please enjoy. As always, let me know in the comments if you find any mistakes or have any questions.

Materials: Diakeito Diadomina 50% wool, 21% mohair, 29% nylon yarn, 6 40 gram balls.

Needles: circular or double pointed needles, size 7 OR size to get gauge and appropriate for how you like to knit in the round. 5 double pointed needles for traditional knitting in the round, or two 24” circulars for two circular method, or one 47” or larger circular for Magic Loop.

Gauge: 25 stitches = 4 inches (6.25 stitches per inch)

Construction Notes: Scarf is knit predominantly in the round using linen stitch. When the main body of the scarf is complete, you close the ends up to make a two-layer rectangle, then knit a simple back-and-forth border with really fun, yet easy, bobbled fringe that makes for lots of swingy fun when worn. The yarn is a beautiful self-striping mohair blend that seems to never repeat itself—mesmerizing!

Directions: Cast on 68 stitches using your favorite provisional cast on. (Later, you will pick up the ends of these stitches for the border.) Divide the stitches into quarters (17 stitches per needle) if using 5 double pointed needles. Divide in half if using two circulars or the magic loop. If using one smaller circular needle, place a marker for the beginning of rounds.

Start linen stitch pattern:

Row 1: Slip 1, K to halfway; Slip 1, K to end of round
Row 2: K1, *slip1, slip 1 with yarn in front,* repeat to halfway; K1, *slip1, slip 1 with yarn in front,* repeat to end of round
Row 3: repeat row 1
Row 4: K1, *slip 1 with yarn in front, K1* repeat to halfway; K1, *slip 1 with yarn in front, K1* repeat to end of round

Repeat rounds 1-4 until scarf is approximately the height of the intended owner—that makes it fall to their hips when draped around the neck. Or knit to desired length, making sure you have at least half a ball of yarn left for the borders. The slip stitches at the beginning and halfway marks will make a natural folding place, like a fake seam down the sides of the scarf.

Border A: You will need three needles to close off the scarf ends, two to hold the stitches and one to knit them with. Align each half of the stitches (front and back of scarf) in parallel (if you were using 5 needles, but half on each of two needles, and use a third to knit). Knit across, knitting one stitch from each needle each time. You will go from 68 parallel stitches to 34 stitches.

Knit 5 more rows in garter stitch for border.

Start Fun Bobbled Fringe: Cast on 19 (a cabled cast on works best), then make bobble.

Bobble: Row 1: Into last cast-in stitch, KI, P1, K1, P1, K1—5 stitches on needle.
Row 2: Sl 1, P4
Row 3: Sl 1, K4
Row 4: Sl 1, P4
Row 5: Sl 1, K4
Row 6: Sl 1, P4
Row 7: Sl 1, K4
Row 8: Sl 1, P4
Row 9: K2tog, K1, K2tog
Row 10: K3tog

When bobble is complete, cast off remaining stitches. When you get to the last cast on stitch, knit it together with the next scarf stitch, then cast off one (the idea is you will have one bobbled fringe for every two stitches on the scarf).

Repeat fringe instruction above until only two stitches are on the needle, K2tog and end off.

Border B: Now you need to make a matching border on the end where you started. Remove provisional cast on and put the live loops on, with the front stitches on one needle and the back stitches on another. Align as for Border A and close off the scarf edge as in Border A. Note that you will probably have an odd number of stitches, due to picking up from the cast on edge. Just bring up a loop on the odd half and knit it together with the final stitch on the half with an even number of stitches to nicely close off the scarf end. Complete Fun Bobbled Fringe as above.

Copyright ©2006 Sue Ann Kendall. This pattern may not be reproduced except for personal use.

Friday, December 7, 2007

Preview of New Pattern AND I Posted Another

Linen stitch
Originally uploaded by sunasak

I hope this photo intrigues you and makes you want to know more about the next item I'm going to post the pattern for. I've been meaning to share this one for quite some time! As you can see, the yarn is luscious and the stitch pattern is a very interesting one. And it's perfect for this time of year--it is a VERY warm item! Here in Texas, it's mostly decorative--in fact, it lived at a yarn store for a year when I was selling the pattern there.

I realized I had sort of written up instructions for the Glacier Lake Socks I knitted this summer, so I went ahead and finished them up, and have posted that pattern as well. the instructions are dated back in July, when i did the sock, but it is also listed in the sidebar under free patterns, so you can find it easily if you ever want to make a simply patterned sock with a very interesting heel (borrowed liberally from another sock I knitted, only resized and tweaked).

As always, if you make them and find an error, do let me know!

Knittin' Progress

I am churning away on a gift that I can't go into here, and got some more done on Juno Regina yesterday. I can do about an inch at a time of that before going numb. So, it will take a while with those small needles and teeny thread. But it's pretty!! Tomorrow I hope to get yarn for the kids' gifts, and start them.

Wednesday, December 5, 2007

Rainy Day Sock Pattern

Rainy Day Sock detail
Originally uploaded by sunasak
Here it is, the Rainy Day Sock pattern. Please let me know if you find any mistakes or have any trouble understanding the instructions, so I can make corrections. And if you knit them, please send me a picture.

Rainy Day Socks
This sock is based on two patterns from the Harmony Guides. The neat thing is that each pattern has a twelve-row repeat, so it's easy to keep track of what row you are on, even when doing both patterns.
In the new edition edited by Erika Knight, the patterns are Parasol Stitch on p. 74 (modified) and Raindrops, on p. 111 (also modified and with twisted knit stitch border added). The yarn I used on the original socks was mostly blue, like water, with a little green, and featured shiny silver strands, making it look wet. Socks for a rainy day!
Materials: Blue sock yarn. I used Schoeller and Stahl Fortissima Colori Socka Disco Colori, Color 01. This has been discontinued, so use any sock-weight yarn that looks rainy to you and gives the right gauge. It will look a LOT better in a solid or semi-solid yarn, so you can see the patterning.
Gauge: 9 stitches per inch.
Needles: Use whatever needle gets you this gauge. I needed a 00 with my yarn, but most people will probably need a 1 or 2. Whatever needle works best in 64-stitch socks for you will work fine.
I assume you are using the magic loop method or two circular needles. If you are more comfortable with four double pointed needles, put half of each side on each needle; there are an odd number of stitches on each side, so put one more stitch on two of the needles.
Cast on 28 stitches, 14 per needle, using your favorite invisible cast on, such as Figure 8, Turkish, backward loop (here are my instructions) or Judy's Magic Cast On.
Increase one stitch at each end of the needle every other row until you have 64 stitches. Options include knitting into the front and back of the edge stitch, working a Make 1 (M1)between the first and second stitches and next-to-last and last stitches on each needle, or doing paired lifted increases on each end. I use the M1 method, since my M1s are practically invisible.
On the last row of plain knitting, set up for the pattern on the first needle (this will be the instep). On the last row of plain knitting, set up for the pattern on the first needle (this will be the instep). K8, place marker, K8, M1, K8, place marker, K8. The other needle will be your sole. K16, M1, K16. 33 stitches on each side for a total of 66 stitches. The other needle will be your sole. K16, M1, K16. 33 stitches on each side for a total of 66 stitches.
Start parasol pattern (see below).
Knit to marker, knit row 1 of parasol pattern, knit to end of instep. Keep foot in stockinette, Continue knitting the parasol pattern on the instep.
Shape Gusset
When foot measures approximately 3" short of desired foot length, start gusset. Continuing in parasol pattern on the instep, increase one stitch at each end of the sole needle every other row. I used paired lifted increases, with a right-slanted increase on the right and a left-slanted one on the left. I did the increase on the second stitch from the end. You can use M1 (Make 1) or Kfb as well. Continue until you have a total of 55 stitches on the sole needle.(Don't worry about where you are on the parasol pattern. No matter where you end up, you will start new parasols on the back of the socks when you get to your next row 1.)
Turn Heel
Working back and forth on only the foot stitches:
Row 1: (RS) K 37, Kfb, K1, wrap and turn
Row 2: (RS) P 22, Pfb, P1, wrap and turn
Row 3: (RS) K 20, kfb, K1, wrap and turn
Row 4: (RS) P 18, Pfb, P1, wrap and turn
Row 3: (RS) K 16, kfb, K1, wrap and turn
Row 2: (RS) P 14, Pfb, P1, wrap and turn
Row 3: (RS) K 12, kfb, K1, wrap and turn
Row 2: (RS) P 10, Pfb, P1, wrap and turn
You will have 63 stitches in total. On RS, knit to end of the needle, knitting each wrap together with the stitch it wraps. Knit across instep stitches, keeping in Parasol pattern.
Heel Flap
Row 1 (RS): K47 (knitting each wrap together with the stitch it wraps), SSK, turn
Row 2: Slip 1, P 31, P2tog, turn
Row 3: [Slip 1, K1] 16 times, SSK, turn
Repeat rows 2 and 3 until all side stitches have been worked.
Rearrange for Leg
Move all stitches before the first marker on the instep to the heel needle (this is easy in Magic Loop--just change where the loops are by putting all the stitches together then re-pinching to make new loops where you want the half-rows to end). K across all these stitches, knitting two together where the heel and instep stitches meet.
Knit the next row of the Parasol pattern. Move the first 8 stitches of the heel needle onto the instep needle. Knit across these stitches, knitting two together where the heel and instep needles used to meet (neaten up if you think a hole might form).
(If you are using DPNs, you could put one pattern on each of four needles. That would make it easy to tell where you are.)
You should have 32 stitches on each needle (if not, adjust on the next row). One is the front (it has the pattern on it) and one is the back. The first 17 stitches on each needle will be worked in the Parasol pattern, and the second 15 stitches will be worked in the Raindrop pattern. Place markers between the patterns.
Until you reach row 1 of the Parasol pattern on the front, K across the 17 Parasol stitches on the back of the sock. Until you reach either row 1 or row 7, purl across the 15 stitches of the Raindrop pattern. You can start the Raindrop pattern on either Row 7 or Row 1. When I made mine, I only had to do this for two rows, because my last Parasol row had been Row 10. What row you end up with will depend on your foot size and your row gauge, so it will vary.
Establish Leg Patterns
At your next Row 1, start the Parasol pattern in the section with a K background and the Raindrops pattern in the section with the purl background. Though you have shifted the needles, the parasols will be centered on the front and back of the sock, and the raindrops will be centered up the sides. From now on, it's easy!
I moved the last purls of the Raindrop pattern to the beginnings of each needle so I would not have to start a needle with a YO on Row 1, but if you are comfortable starting with a YO, you don't need to do this.
Continue until the legs are as long as you want, probably between 6 and 8 inches long, ending at Row 12. Do the following finishing rows:
Row 13: In the Parasol sections, K 6, YO, SSK, K1, K2tog, YO, K6. In the Raindrop pattern, keep the twisted Knit stitches going, but Purl all other stitches.
Row 14: In the Parasol section, K7, Do the centered double decrease, K7. In the Raindrop pattern, keep the twisted Knit stitches going, but Purl all other stitches.
Finish with a K1, P1 ribbing. It looks nice to twist the knit stitches. I did 8 rows. Note that the Parasol pattern will cause the socks to dip festively in the front and back.
PARASOL PATTERN (17 stitches--only rows 11 and 12 will have accurate stitch count)
Row 1: YO, (K1, P3) 4 times, K1, YO
Row 2 and all even rows: K
Row 3: K1, YO, (K1, P3) 4 times, K1, YO, K1
Row 5: K2, YO, (K1, P3) 4 times, K1, YO, K2
Row 7: K3, YO, (K1, P2tog, P1) 4 times, K1, YO, K3
Row 9: K4, YO, (K1, P2tog) 4 times, K1, YO, K4
Row 11: K5, YO, K1, (Centered double decrease,* K1) twice, YO, K5
Row 12: K
*Slip two stitches together as if to knit, knit 1, pass the two slipped stitches over the stitch you knitted..
Row 1: P1, K1tbl, P5, YO, P2tog, P4, K1tbl, P1
Rows 2-6: P1, K1tbl, P5, K1, P5, K1tbl, P1
Row 7: P1, K1tbl, P2, YO, P2tog, P4, YO, P1, K1tbl, P1
Rows 8-12: P1, K1tbl, P2, K1, P5, K1, P2, K1tbl, P1
K: knit
P: purl
Kfb: knit into the front and back of the stitch
Pfb: purl into the front and back of the stitch
M1: make one
YO: yarn over
P2tog: purl two together
Special Stitch
Centered double decrease: Slip two stitches together as if to knit, knit 1, pass the two slipped stitches over the stitch you knitted. This makes three stitches into one, and keeps the center stitch at the foreground.
Copyright 2007 by Sue Ann Kendall. Permission is granted to reproduce this pattern for personal use only.

Suna's Dream Item

Just a quick note while I am waiting to be home where there's a copy of my sock pattern that I can post. Look, TWO blue socks appear on the blue background at left!

The new Knitty is out, and wonder of wonders, it has my dream project: an entire sweater made out of Trekking XXL sock yarn. Drool. Abotanicity is its name. And it sure looks comfy and modern. And in one piece. And top down. Did I mention that? Oh gosh, that would be a lot of fun to make, and in my favorite beautiful yarn. Yeah, soon as I finish the other to do items, that is! I'll report more on it later, after I have looked at all the patterns and stuff. Some of the links are not working (I guess the server's busy).

Yes, I did at last finish the Rainy Day Socks last night. Sock #2 remarkably resembles sock #1. And neither of them photographed well, which is apparent in the photo. I need some natural light, but it gets dark so early! I even started a new pair using Jody's yarn and yet another Wendy Johnson pattern, because I needed something to do while waiting to get yarn for the kids' requests from the Stitch-n-Bitch men's book. One wants a hat, the other the Lucha Libre kind of mask thing. Both black. Sigh. Such exciting taste. Of course, the yarn shop will not be open late tonight as usual, so who knows when I'll get to buy the yarn.

Next post WILL be a sock pattern.

PS: Thanks to Noallatin for the info on the sock needle holder. You rock!

Monday, December 3, 2007

Another Question, and a Plan?

Festive Dog
Originally uploaded by sunasak

No knitting excitement to post a photo of, so here's my doggie sweater I designed using very strange yarns, which lives at the LYS. The color is WAY off--it is orange, not pink! Who PhotoShopped that, anyway??? (me)

I am probably going to get the second Rainy Day sock finished today or tomorrow, and that is good news. It means I passed the heel and was able to follow my own instructions. So I will be able to share them. I am impressed, since I spent most of the weekend singing or doing holiday decorating.

We have another question today from my shy questioner, and it's a good one.

She asks:"When you're making socks using 4 (or 5) needles, and you stop knitting for a while, what do you do with the needle not currently in use? I've been gently poking it through the finished part of the sock, trying very hard not to split stitches. But I think sometimes this does rearrange things a bit and makes what almost looks like holes.

"Is there a better way that still would keep from not losing the needle?"

And I answer: Usually I do what you do--stick the needle in the knitted part of the sock, or in the ball of yarn. And I do sometimes split the yarn, so this really isn't a great method. When knitting with teeny double pointed needles, though, I do try to carry the project in one of those small "sock bags," which have just enough space to hold the yarn, the sock in progress and its mate if that one is done. You are much less likely to lose your 5th (or 4th) needle if it's in a little bag and you close it up. And that way you don't have to stick the needle in the sock or yarn ball. But, another reason I use Magic Loop is so I won't lose needles!

There is a contraption I have seen that holds all your working needles and the spare in it, with your sock hanging out. This keeps your needles from being sat on and breaking (or hurting someone) and keep the unworked one safe. I can't remember what that thingie is called, so I can't link to it. But, that's another option. Any reader with another suggestion is welcome to COMMENT and tell me. Hint hint. I love comments.


I am trying to figure out ways to make some money when I am between jobs. One is that I will teach more classes at the LYS, which I have been graciously granted permission to do (and since I love to do that, it's great!). I did have the idea of marketing myself as a personal knitting coach and someone who will do in-home knitting parties. I did one of those last year and it was fun for all. I think I'd need to revamp my very old and outdated personal website so I could use it for that purpose. I wonder if I'd get any takers? And where I would advertise? I wouldn't want to conflict with local yarn shops and their classes, so I'd not want to put ads or business cards there. Maybe the small local newspapers. Or, or... CRAIGSLIST!!! Now, that may be a plan.

Of course, revamping that website takes away knitting time (which is why it is stale and it is better to find my stuff on Flickr). Hmm. Decisions decisions.

Sunday, December 2, 2007

Knitting Books, Reunited

Knitting Books, Reunited
Originally uploaded by sunasak
Why in the world am I illustrating my post with a photo of a bookshelf in my bedroom? The title tells it all--at last, all my knitting books are reunited. I spent a lot of time, and lots of back ache moving my knitting books out of the guest room, and adding all the ones I found last week to those. As you can see, they nearly filled this book case (a narrow one, which we have another one of on the other side of the room, courtesy of Lee moving in).

And they are alphabetized by author. I feel so organized. I had tried to organize them by topic before, but so many things spanned topic that it was not quite right. Then, Lee moved things and ACK, they were ALL intermingled! Knitting books were touching quilt books! Or Sewing with Nancy! Man, they could have gotten contaminated or something (with what, I don't know--really I used to like those Sewing with Nancy books a lot).

The other book case will hold my non-knitting craft books. I am weeding a lot of sewing books out, since I don't think i will ever be a garment sewer, but I will keep the quilt books, because they often inspire my knitting (and who knows, I may quilt again some day). I am also keeping the needlepoint books, because it's just so pretty. However, a whole lot of books about scrapbooking and other things I don't have time for now that I am not a stay-at-home mother will go to someone else. Yay for decluttering (which I did a bit of to the holiday decor today, too).

Next, I will use my close-up photos of all the books to lazily add books to my Ravelry list. Of course, now that I have a laptop that really works, I guess I could do it in the bedroom. Ah, modern conveniences.