Tuesday, July 31, 2007

Forget Me Not Socks in Progress, Vogue Knitting

Now you can see the current project, and exactly how far I am with it at this very moment! The very pale pastels don't photograph terribly well, but you can get the idea. I like the pattern and these will be good summer socks, but I do have some issues with my knitting.

The very lovely pattern calls for size 0 needles in Panda Cotton, and that is what I am using. I know perfectly well that I need to use smaller needles than called for most of the time, but was too lazy to go get the 00 needles. Plus, I was a bit worried that the splittiness of Panda Cotton would be hard to manage on teeny-tiny needles. So, the leg is a bit loose, and the eyelets aren't terribly pretty. The stretchiness of the yarn also affects the eyelets, I think (Panda Cotton has elastic in it, as well as cotton and bamboo). So, if I use this yarn in another project, I will go down a needle size or two.

I love, love the way this yarn feels. It is sort of "dry" to the touch--kind of like a cotton ball. It just feels like it will be cool when you are wearing it.

I also really enjoy the picot hem edge. In this elastic-y yarn it feels very sophisticated and classy, whatever that means.

Vogue 25th

Hey, cool, the 25th anniversary Vogue Knitting came to my house yesterday. It has the usual "interesting" Vogue patterns (which means mostly things I would never be able to wear or afford to buy the yarn for), but there are a lot of very interesting articles and super interviews. I'd recommend buying this magazine just to read the interviews with the "old guard" knitters and the "new guard" knitters. The new ones have some really good thoughts on the Internet and knitting, and the role of the local yarn shop.

And I just got tickled at the perspective of Alice Starmore in the "old fogeys" section. It's so nice to read about someone being so resolutely traditional. (Though I still wish I could buy her books from the past decade that I don't have, like the Aran book--grateful for the ones I DO have.)

They are selling patterns for some of the past items pictured in the interesting ad section at the start of the magazine (featuring different manufacturers and silver knitted garments). Hee hee, I have pretty much ALL the issues, so I don't have to buy any, if there's any I need. For once, being a packrat is good. I think I am only missing a few issues from when subscriptions ran out at the same time funds did. The relaunch of VK happened right when my 80s craze for knitting launched itself, and at that time I bought a LOT of magazines.

Sunday, July 29, 2007

Feather and Fan Tofustie Socks, FO

I got these fine summery socks finished on Friday afternoon. They worked up really quickly and were easy to do. Even though I don't like the way short-row heels fit, they certainly are easy! The only part of the socks that didn't work out terribly well was the garter stitch top edging, which wants to curl down. I have seen others put different tops on these, but I like the way these look when behaving nicely. I enjoyed how the green sections swirled and the rest of the colors mixed nicely.

Tofutsie definitely looks better knitted up than it does in the ball. Run out and buy some just for the antimicrobial properties of the chitin!

And I enjoy Wendy Johnson's patterns--visit her at Wendy Knits to see what you'd like to try!


I'm already well into the foot of a sock out of Panda Cotton. WOOO does that yarn feel nice!! I picked a wimpy baby kind of overly pastel colorway, but it will be nice and summery. The socks are called Forget Me Not, and are an anklet style with a nice picot top edge, which I found linked from the Crystal Palace site's collection of socks from their yarns. However, it actually comes from the Fiber Dreams blog, which is most enjoyable in itself There's a typo in the pattern where you are starting the gusset. It says:

Needle 1: S1, K5, place marker, K5.

It should be S1, K4, place marker... because there are only ten stitches there. Otherwise, a dandy pattern with sweet little florets on it (yes, I am telling the author, LOL).


In other news, a couple of days ago Sheri at the Loopy Ewe posted a blueberry pie recipe. That very day, my pie-crazed 14-yr-old son made us one, and I would like to report it is a delicious pie that is probably good made with other fruits, too. Her learned that it takes a while for a sauce made with cornstarch to start to thicken, but once it starts, it goes quickly ("Moooom, it's not thickening...MomDude, it's getting too thick!" "Well, take it off the heat, son!") Here is a link to a photo of our pie.

Um, do any others of you have children who call you "MomDude"?

Friday, July 27, 2007

Next Interweave Knits

I love it when magazines send out previews. It's nice that the folks at Interweave Knits give previews of the patterns in upcoming issues. And the extra photos they give really help get me drooling over possible new projects. Now I will have to just sit and wait for my copy to arrive, or try not to bend up a yarn shop copy until mine gets here.

What did I like in this issue? Here they are in order of which I love them. Not the order in which I am most likely to knit...

  • Tilted Duster: loved the way this looked and think it would be useful at my freezing work place or outdoors much of the winter here in Texas.
  • Dickinson Pullover: I am simply a sucker for a whole lotta cables, and these look way fun. Also totally impractical in the above-mentioned mild Texas winters.
  • Counterpane Pullover: I didn't think much of the small photo of the front, but when I saw the enlarged photo and the back, whoa! This looks like it would be great fun to knit! All sorts of directional knitting going on here!
  • Minimalist Cardigan: may not look too exciting, but also looks perfect for the office and would be neat in bamboo. So I think. This one I would use a lot.
  • Snowflake Socks: Of course I would mention a sock. It's graphically striking, and really, I've never liked any of the stranded or two-color socks I have started. Maybe this one will be different. Or at least fast, being sport-weight. Plus, I think I already have yarn I could use.

What do you like? And is this YOUR favorite knitting magazine? It's in my top three print magazines. They rotate.

Thursday, July 26, 2007

From October 2006: Walking Away Socks

Walking Away Socks
Originally uploaded by sunasak
I labeled this with the date I knitted the socks, so you won't think I churned these out overnight. I am really not all that fast of a knitter, no Wendy Johnson, sigh (she is so fast AND creative, even when she feels bad, what a gal!).

I just thought it was time to share an oldie but goodie, since I don't have a photo of my second feather-and-fan sock (I am heading up the leg now, so it will be done soon). That will be another pair of socks in a week, which is good for me.

The Walking Away Socks came out very nicely, I think. They are a Fiber Trends pattern that comes in three variants. They are designed to be work with open-backed shoes, so they have patterning going all the way down. i made these out of a light sportweight yarn that Joslyn's Fiber Farm sent as part of their sock club.* As far as I can tell, it's hand painted, and a lovely collection of lilacs and violets.

The front of the socks are a plain K1 P1 rib, which keeps the socks on nicely and lets you focus on the yarn in the front. The other two variants of the Walking Away Socks are also very nice, and I will try each of them, eventually. Certainly I have enough lovely sock yarn for that. Heh. And more keeps coming in...

Speaking of getting stuff, I got three books from the Interweave scratch and dent sale yesterday. One is the Christmas Stocking book, which I have borrowed my friend Katie's copy of, so I can now return that, and still EVENTUALLY finish the kids' stockings. Before they are adults. The patterns are complex, though. But I do have yarn ready for them.

I also got Wrap Style and a Folk Socks book. I could not remember if it was the one I already had, or the one I didn't. There are lots of books on folk socks. If I already have it, certainly it will make a nice gift for a deserving someone, so it is not a waste. The books were good deals and are not in bad shape at all, at least from a cursory glance.

* As for that sock club (and yay, they have updated their web design!). I've been in it for a couple of years and should probably resign. I like all the interesting sock patterns I've received, but the yarn's another story. Way too much of it is sport or worsted weight, and I don't knit many socks of that weight (I know many people do, and think it is good to give them some yarn they will like, just it isn't for me). Also, very few of the colors reflect my taste. (Of course, this means I have yarn I won't mind giving away as gifts.) I have a whole bunch of unlabeled yarn from that club, which I assume is yarn the owner dyed herself, but I don't know what the content is--wish they came with labels. I guess that's my main issue--the yarns no longer come with a sheet of paper saying what they are, and that makes it hard to know what to do with them. Still, the surprise is fun, so if you like surprises and want to collect some new patterns, I encourage you to try this or another sock club.

I do have a tip about sock club yarn. Whenever I get a shipment, I take the pattern that comes with it and write down which yarn it came with, on the pattern. That way, if I feel like knitting the pattern that came with one of the yarns, I'll know which it is, but I can still file the pattern with my other sock patterns and use if for other things, too.

Well, for someone who wasnt' going to post today because she wasn't feeling too well, I have certainly typed a bit. I have a meeting this evening, which means more time to knit! Last night I had to concentrate on singing, which messed up my short-row heel and I had to do parts of it twice. But I did learn my harmony parts. La la la.

Tuesday, July 24, 2007

Feather and Fan Sock and Surplice Progress

Feather and Fan Sock
Originally uploaded by sunasak
Last night I finished this here sock, which sure knitted up quickly, thanks to the plain foot (haven't knit anything plain in a while). It is in Tofutsie, that trendy soy, wool, cotton and chitin blend. I just HAD to knit up socks with pieces of crab in them! The ball band is all torn up from the puppy getting to it when I first bought the yarn--I guess she smelled seafood (it does NOT stink, honest, but dogs have more sensitive noses).

The pattern is another Wendy Johnson model, a toe-up feather and fan design. Why'd I choose this? I simply LIKE feather and fan. It reminds me of the shawls I am not knitting while I am in a sock phase.

Issues? I think I'd prefer a more narrow end to the toe, so if I do this type of sock again, I might go down to ten or twelve center stitches in the toe. And the heel seems a bit short to me, so next time I do a short-row heel, I might make it a bit deeper, too.

What I like is how the foot (64 sts) does not pool at all, but the leg, which has 72 stitches, has some interesting pooling where the green parts clump up. It's centered on the back of the foot for a long time.

I have to say that the yarn feels GREAT on my feet, light and cool. And I didn't have as much trouble with it splitting as some folks seem to have. Heh, we'll see how I do with Panda Cotton, which is next.

Yep, got ANOTHER order of yarn yesterday from the Loopy Ewe. I will review those tomorrow or later today. Panda Cotton was in there, since so many folks have used it and are commenting. I was impressed with how it feels. Very "powdery" soft.

Surplice Top

I see a lot of hits to this blog from people looking for the surplice top I am working on (supposedly). This is from the Nashua Handknits American Designer Collection, and it is knit in Natural Focus Ecologie Cotton So, I thought I'd share a photo of my progress on it, which is one of the lace bands. I wish I had someone to talk to about this pattern, because I do not like how you are supposed to knit many separate pieces for the front and back, then sew them on. I'd much rather pick up and knit the pieces, to make one piece. Anyone else out there modifying this pattern?

I'm making this in the exact yarn called for in the pattern. I really liked that color best, and everyone at the LYS said it went best with my complexion! Whatever...

Monday, July 23, 2007

Glacier Lake Toe Up Sock Pattern

Better late than never, here's the Glacier Lake Sock pattern all written out. I have also posted it to Ravelry.

Glacier Lake Toe-Up Socks

I saw the stitch pattern on a baby blanket a woman was making in the Austin, Texas airport one day, and thought it would make a great sock pattern. This is the second pair I made using the pattern. It will look good with any yarn, and at any length. The socks’ name comes from the colorway, which was named after a photograph of logs on a lake at the base of a glacier by Ray of Knitivity.com

The short-row gusset heel is a slight modification of the one I first encountered in the sock
Coupling from Knitty, and it’s become a favorite of mine. Try Coupling if you’d like to make another sock with a similar heel.

Materials: Knitivity Down Home Sock yarn (4 ounces/approx 113 grams, 480 yards), 1 skein, Glacier Lake colorway.

Needles: Whatever needle gets you 7 stitches per inch. Probably size 1-2.

Gauge: 7 stitches per inch (that’s 28 stitches per 10 cm for you metric people)


Use magic loop, two circulars or DPNs, whatever circular knitting method you like.

Cast on 14 stitches in Judy’s Magic cast-on, figure-8 cast on, Turkish cast-on the backward loop method, or any other method that creates a seamless toe.


Increase on each end of each side every other row until you have 64 stitches. I usually use M1 after the first stitch and before the last stitch on each end of a side.


Work in this pattern on the instep stitches:

Rows 1-4: P2, K3, ending with a P2
Row 5: Purl across
Repeat rows 1-5 for pattern.

Work in plain stockinette (K every stitch) on the sole stitches. When sock is three inches shorter than the desired length, start the gusset.


Increase Round: Work an M1 increase one stitch after the first stitch and one stitch before the last stitch on the sole side of the sock.
Plain Round: Work 1 round in established pattern.

Repeat these two rounds until there are 58 stitches on the sole needle.

Turn Heel

The heel is worked back and forth on the needle with the sole stitches.

Row 1 [RS]: K 39, turn work.
Even-numbered Row 2-10 [WS]: Sl 1, P19, turn work.
Odd-numbered Rows 3-9 [RS]: Sl 1, K19, turn work.
Row 11 [RS]: Sl 1, K17, W&T (wrap and turn).
Row 12 [WS]: Sl 1, P15, W&T.
Row 13 [RS]: Sl 1, K13, W&T.
Row 14 [WS]: Sl 1, P11, W&T.
Row 15 [RS]: Sl 1, K9, W&T.
Row 16 [WS]: Sl 1, P7, W&T.
Row 17 [RS]: Sl 1, K7, [K next stitch together with its wrap, K1] 3 times, pick up and knit 5 stitches (1 stitch in each slipped stitch) along edge of flap. Turn work.
Row 18 [WS]: Sl 1, P18, [P next stitch together with its wrap, P1] 3 times, pick up and P 5 stitches (1 stitch in each slipped stitch) along edge of flap. Turn work.

You will now have 66 stitches on the sole needle 28 heel flap stitches, and 19 gusset stitches on each side of the flap stitches.

Row 19 [RS]: [Sl1, K1] 13 times, sl 1, SSK. Turn work.
Row 20 [WS]: Sl 1, P26, P2tog. Turn work.
Repeat rows 19-20 until there are 32 stitches on the sole needle.

Repeat row 19 once more, but do not turn work.


When the heel is done, increase one stitch somewhere unobtrusive on the back of the sock (M1 works well) so that you will have 65 stitches (the stitch pattern in the round is a multiple of 5 stitches) in total, and proceed to do this pattern:

Rows 1-4: P2, K3
Row 5: P

Repeat Rows 1-5 in rounds until the sock is as long as you want it to be. Bind off loosely after completing a Row 2.

Copyright 2007 by Sue Ann Kendall. This pattern may not be reproduced for sale.

Sunday, July 22, 2007

Glacier Lake Socks Are FOs!

Glacier Lake Socks
Originally uploaded by sunasak
Yes, there are now two Glacier Lake socks, and they are Finished Objects (FOs). I actually finished them Friday, but could not find the camera until today. Wow are these comfortable--I like the yarn a lot, but don't think that the vendor (our pal Ray at Knitivity) will be using it any more. I hope the new yarns are equally soft and pleasant to wear and knit with. In any case, I haven't knitted a pair of socks so quickly in quite some time--less than a week! And it was nice enough yesterday to wear them with my turquoise Birkenstocks to the yarn store, where they were praised universally.

I also wore Juliet, which they had not seen yet--wow that is one nice-looking top--but unfortunately a cute li'l beagle puppy dug his sharp claws into it, so some "repair" is in order. Well, you really can't turn down a chance to hold a happy little puppy not even two months old.

I was going to post instructions at some point, but here's a recipe (a more formal pattern is coming):

Cast on 12 or 14 stitches in the magic cast-on, figure-8 cast on, backward loop then pick up in the backs cast on, or other seamless toe method. Use magic loop, two circulars or DPNs, whatever you like. Increase on each end of each side every other row until you have 64 stitches. Do p2, K3 ribbing, ending with a P2 for 4 rows, then one row of purl on the instep and stockinette on the sole. Stop at 2.25 inches less than how long you want the foot, then work the heel in the Coupling pattern in the current Knitty, only over 4 more stitches (this is what I need to write down). When that's done, increase one stitch somewhere and proceed to do p2 K3 ribbing for four rows, then purl a row until you are done. End with at least two rows of ribbing. Sure, you can figure out the sock from that. Or, heck, you can do the same thing in a standard top-down, just realizing you need to decrease 1 stitch before you start your heel.

I just like the way the pattern looks with the hand-dyed yarn. It breaks up the tendency to have spiral stripes.

And next...

Now, I decided after all that thinking to do the Tofutsie yarn in Wendy Johnson's toe-up feather and fan pattern. I even did the short-row toe and heel. My short-row heel sure seems, um, short to me. But, the colorway of Tofutsie (purple, dark blue and turquoise with a bit of light green) is prettier than I thought it would be, even if it is, sigh BLUE.

I'm heading up the leg and enjoying the nice, simple feather and fan. These will go quickly. Which is good, because there was a sale at the LYS and I was encouraged by Pilar the Enabler to get Silky Wook in an incredible grape-y purple to make a sleeveless top. I think I look awful in sleeveless tops, but granted I looked OK in hers. The pattern is called Molly Ringwald and it's from the KnitSimple at the end of 2006, the one with all those Spanish items in it. Pilar's was very light and airy and felt good. Plus the yarn was less than $20 on sale!

Um, I also got two sock yarns. Details later.

Friday, July 20, 2007

My "Anniversary" Gift

Me Knitting
Originally uploaded by sunasak

Yesterday, or thereabouts, was the anniversary of the day I met my beloved Lee. It's been a whole year, woo! (Yes, we found true love late in life, but it's better than never.)

My anniversary gift was that he and my son made me a header for my blog (oh, would that it would center, darn those uncustomizable Blogger templates). Thank you, Lee and Beccano!

The picture that my son so carefully cut out was based on this photo. so you can see how far I am on the second Glacier Lake sock. I should have it done tonight if I get enough time to knit. If not tonight, fer sure tomorrow.

Oh no, that means I have to think of what to do next, sockwise. I have so much sock yarn (will post a stash photo tomorrow) and so many interesting patterns to try. Or I could make something up. Here are some ideas (and suggestions are welcome):

  • Another pair of Monkey Socks in a thinner yarn
  • Something delicate with a lot of stitches in Tofutsie, since everyone says it knits up small Update! Thinking of making Wendy's Toe-Up Feather and Fan to make a short-row heel, since I am out of practice on those.
  • A nice textured sock in the yarn with Seacell in it (Fleece Artist/Handmaiden Sea Wool) Update! Thinking that pattern on the yarn sleeve looks good, and I like the similar chevron-apattern socks I made a few years ago.
  • Something in Austermann Step, since the only sock I made from that was a gift
  • Something in that yarn from a couple of years ago that had a little shiny stuff in it
  • A slip-stitch pattern I am thinking of in my head, which would require a hand-painted yarn with lots of changes in colors
  • A relaxing, plain sock in one of my many self-striping yarns, in a color that is not blue or red.

I will look through my beautifully organized collection of sock patterns and see if anything strikes me. I think I don't want to make blue again, since I have made a lot of blue ones lately. Oh, but my Tofutsie is blue. Almost the same colors as the Coupling socks. Well, we'll see.

    Wednesday, July 18, 2007

    Louisa Harding and Suna

    Louisa Harding and Suna
    Originally uploaded by sunasak
    So, finally here's a photo of my brush with fame at the LYS. This is me and Louisa Harding, from when she visited here and did a little workshop last month (and I carry my sock in progress in the bag I made there, every day). I am wearing my Shiny Green Sweater.

    I am so glad that Sarah, the LYS owner's daughter, finally got around to sending me these photos, because I was woefully disappointed in how the sweater looked in the earlier pictures I posted. It's not THAT ugly, honest! I still haven't re-blocked it, but I will one of these days, now that the frenzy of home improvement projects has ended. I hope you enjoy these slightly better pix!

    Back View of Shiny Green SweaterI even managed to sort all my loose knitting instructions, Internet printouts and small project booklets by topic and filed them neatly into binders, all set in a lovely basket in our new media room. I had to use the biggest binder for the sock patterns. It's obvious where my love lies. Lace items came in second (I have more books of that, I think).

    My next project will be to find all the patterns I have written up, make them PDF and post them here on the blog. I have sold some copies on the Internet and at the LYS, but none of them are so fancy that I feel the need to make a profit from them. They are just fun things I made and want to share. So, look for them in a sidebar near you, and soon!

    Shiny Green Sweater in Good LightIn knitting progress, I started Glacier Lake sock #2 and am almost to the start of the gusset. I figure I will get a bit of that done at Chicks with Sticks tonight, and be ready for the next sock...I mean, ready to get back to other projects this weekend!

    Tuesday, July 17, 2007

    Glacier Lake Sock Revealed

    Glacier Lake Sock #1
    Originally uploaded by sunasak
    I'd intended to post a picture of this sock in progress, but it went so quickly that instead, here's the first completed sock!

    This sock is 65 stitches around on the leg in a K3, P2 pattern with every fifth row purled. The resulting lines remind me of the trees in the image that inspired the colorway, which was a bunch of tree stumps in a lake near a glacier.

    It was made toe up with a backwards loop cast-on. The backwards loop cast on, when done carefully, looks as nice as fancier ones. My tension came out very good and the stitches are not twisted--it's a beautiful sock beginning (will photograph it later). All you do is cast on the number of stitches you want (I used 14) on a spare double pointed needle, then pick up the same number in the loops in the back of the cast-on using your circular needle, being careful to pick up in such a way that the stitches don't get a twist. If you end up one stitch off, you can M1 extra in the next row. I then knit a row, which lets you get rid of the extra needle and start increasing on every other row after that (on this one, I did a M1 after the first and before the last stitch on a needle half, but sometimes I use a lifted increase).

    I used lifted increases on the edges gusset, which makes a very neat effect--the new stitches just seem to grow out of the sock. I used the same heel that I liked so much in the Coupling socks, though I made it a bit bigger because I had more stitches. I was very proud that I figured out how to do it on that rather complex set of heel instructions. Let's see if I can make one to match. If so, I can write it up and share.

    The light is bad because I was in a hurry to leave for work--a better picture and pattern close-up will come when there are TWO socks.

    The yarn is from Ray at Knitivity.com and is a sock-weight merino. It's very soft, light and NOT bulky--a lovely switch from the Monkey socks! These are the kind of socks you can wear every day, and the pattern looks nice with the hand-painted yarn, really breaking up the colors even more. And this one didn't do much pooling, which makes it more uniform.

    I had intended to do some fancy ending, like a crenelated one, or picot, or a lacy thing, but everything I tried distracted from the coordination of the pattern and yarn, so I just bound off loosely. Sophisticated, yes!

    Saturday, July 14, 2007

    Monkey Socks on the Road

    Monkey Socks on the Road
    Originally uploaded by sunasak
    Yay, I finished another pair of socks. That is pretty quick for me. It helps that I have been on so many car trips in the past few weeks. I finished the Monkey Socks in a mobile home near Ponder, Texas, visiting my partner's neice. We went up to pick up my oldest son from three endless weeks of debate camp. Sure is good to all be home!

    As for the socks, as you can see, they are pretty. The yarn is quite thick, Socks That Rock. Color is Fire on the Mountain. The pattern is Monkey Socks from knitty.com, and I don't think I modified it much at all from the original, other than the weird bind-off (note, not in the picture, but really, it looks fine and you can see it in the other shots I have in the Flickr feed at left.

    So, I do love them, and will wear them a lot in the fall with Birks, as well as at home with no shoes.

    On the trip back to Austin I started a toe up sock with a pattern I am making up out of the Glacier Lake sock yarn pictured in the previous post (it is now wound into a yarn cake, of course). My hands were hurting, plus I started it FOUR times (trying different cast-ons). I settled on the cast on where you use the backward loop and then pick up the bottom of the loops. That looks just as nice as the magic cast on, and is helpful when you can't remember exactly how to do the magic cast on (no Internet in the darned car). I'll take a picture of that sock in progress tomorrow when I have more done. So far, so soft and pretty.

    Now I must knit something other than socks. My other projects are languishing.

    I love socks.

    Friday, July 13, 2007

    Yarn Lovelies

    Yarn Lovelies
    Originally uploaded by sunasak
    As promised, I'm sharing photos of this week's mail order sock yarn extravaganza. I have been trying to not buy yarn and actually knit up what I have, but...oh that peer pressure. Actually, the Knitivity Glacier Lake far left yarn I have a plan for, and it will be my next socks. So that one was not a splurge. The Claudia yarns in the center, those were a splurge. I was just browsing and could not resist the two colorways (one is chocolate cherries and the other one I forget, but I'll add when I can see the yarn. I like the highly twisted base yarn Claudia (and a lot of others) use. I had a panic Wednesday when there was a rumor that Cherry Tree Hill was going to stop making its yarn with that base. But, they aren't--just introducing another line.

    The top yarn is why I went to the Loopy Ewe in the first place--I wanted some of the sock yarn with Seacell in it, and I knew they had it. I like the pattern on the yarn band and may just use it for the socks I eventually make! The final ball of yarn I got just because I like those colors. They remind me of my kitchen, if only I could have replaced the blue in my wallpaper with purple. And the yarn is sooo soft. It's probably the stuff Ray isn't going to use any more, so I am glad I got it when I did.

    And speaking of new yarn, I headed over to Astrid's site this morning and saw sock yarn with pompoms in it. Well, huh. Now I want one of those so I can touch it. Pompom sock yarn just seems weird, but she says it is soft. There also will be Kafe Fasset colors in Regia soon, which look very pretty with interesting stripe patterns.

    Too many sock yarns, too little time. And sigh, I'd really like to make that Kauni sweater Ms. Yarn Harlot was working on recently. Must make solid color items for work. Must focus...

    Thursday, July 12, 2007

    Peer Pressure

    Sigh, people have been posting about "Panda Cotton" so much on the Sock knitting email list that I guess I will have to order some, just to see what it's like. Aha! No I don't. Apparently, one ball was hiding in the basket o' Fixation and its ilk at my LYS, so I will pick that up on Saturday, and save some bucks. I had passed it by before, thinking it didn't look so great, but after people keep raving about how it knits up, well, I want to see! Beryl (coworker) says she liked knitting with it, too.

    There, I have succumbed to peer pressure. What a weenie. I'm almost done with the leg of Monkey Sock #2, so I will get to start another one soon (oh yeah, should work on something else, too).

    Maybe tomorrow I will post photos of my new sock yarns, as a nod to many people's traditions of posting yarn p0rn on Fridays.

    Wednesday, July 11, 2007

    One Monkey Down...

    I finished the first Monkey sock last night. In finishing off the toe, I decided to try something new, so I found instructions for the "Russian graft" because I could not remember how my Ukrainian friend showed me to do it.

    I did this because my regular grafting does not ever come out right. But next time, I promise, I will use the clear instructions I found on someone's lovely site (where was that again?) and graft. I need to learn, and finally realize what I was doing wrong (so many instructions do not tell you where to hold the yarn as you are "inserting as if to purl" or whatever).

    Anyway, I tried to follow the instructions. I put the tail at the end. I lined up my stitches. I started inserting needles as if to purl and as if to knit (hard on a sock). The stitches definitely got cast off, all right, but I ended up with a purl bump, not smooth knitting! Ay, what DID I do wrong? On the other hand, on the inside, it is beautiful, solid reverse stockinette, so it sure won't bother my toes like doing a 3-needle bind off from the inside sometimes does.

    Maybe next time I will do it from the inside. That might be my issue. Or, gee, practice on a swatch, what a concept. In any case, the toe does not look "bad," so I'll do the other sock to match and pretend I did it on purpose. And then learn properly for next time!

    See, even we "advanced" knitters have our areas for growth!

    Monday, July 9, 2007

    Monkey Sock in Progress

    Monkey Sock in Progress
    Originally uploaded by sunasak
    It was another home improvement weekend, so knitting took a back burner once I left the shop on Saturday. Still, I am this far on my latest socks, Monkey, the extremely popular Cookie A sock from Knitty.com. I can see why people like it--the pattern is a lot of fun and it does neat things with hand-dyed yarn, like this very, very bright Socks That Rock colorway that I got as a gift (thank you, lovely gift giver). I am enjoying the way the colors are lining up (I am one of those knitters who likes pooling--it's an individual thing!).

    The STR yarn is thicker than a lot of sock yarn, so these will be mostly for wearing with Birks, but that's fine. I would not want to cover up these festive wonders!

    The Coupling socks went over well in the yarn shop, and I enjoyed wearing them for the first time (hot weather? who cares, I have new socks!). I was glad to be back "home" on Saturday, and enjoyed teaching 7 students, from 3 families. Mothers, daughters, daughters-in-law...what a fun group it was! I did feel a bit bad about leaving the family at home while I chatted with my old friends, but, hey, we had to catch up! And when I got home, not much had happened, so I didn't "miss" any house work.

    It is Juliet's first day at work. She is doing her job and fighting off the killer air conditioning. And, my break is over, so I will go work!

    Saturday, July 7, 2007

    Save yourself $600 by Knitting!

    My former roommate, the Apple enthusiast, sent me a link to this blog, which I just had so share: "My Mom Hand-Knit an iPhone" -- it's really pretty cute, and also has links to instructions to make a Razr cozy that looks like a pink poptart with sprinkles, if you are so inclined. So, don't buy one, knit one!

    And to Dragonfly, thanks for the encouragement, but, sigh, I ordered 4 sock yarns yesterday, two Claudia handpaints from the lovely Loopy Ewe site and two from good ole Ray at Knitivity (I decided I had to have sock yarn in my favorite colorway, which I already have lace yarn in). So, no medal for me!

    Friday, July 6, 2007

    Yarn Shop Visit Report

    I realized this morning that I didn't write about the only yarn shop I visited on my trip to North Carolina. I was thrilled to learn that a new shop had opened in High Point, not far from my parental abode, out behind a restaurant I had eaten at many times. The restaurant owner had bought the land behind him and put up a small strip shopping center. And there was the new yarn shop (open since November, but new to me), Common Threads. (This is very good, because I have overburdened my dad's patience by making him take me to Greensboro and Winston-Salem to look at yarn many times.)

    I am sharing the logo because I think they did such a nice job on it, and I love the slogan (if you can't read it, it says "For we are all joined by a common thread").

    I showed up exactly at opening time, as I always do on Saturdays at home, and talked a while to the owner, who was very nice, for a crocheter (ha ha, JK as my kids would say (just kidding)). And I got to help a lady figure out how to weave in ends on a hat and how to cast on so that it won't be too tight, which made me feel good, since it was 10:15 on a Saturday and I am always helping people knit at that time! I'm sorry I didn't get more time to chat, since Dad showed up and acted as if I had enjoyed PLENTY of time at the shop (was he KIDDING??).

    For a relatively new shop, they had a good variety of yarn from a lot of suppliers, though she hoped to get more. I remember when the shop I hang out at opened, it took a while for some suppliers to send their whole lines, or anything at all. The shop did have a good supply of needles and notions, too, and that's what I ended up buying--some of those really short circular needles (unfortunately the smallest was size 2, so I can't personally knit a sock on them due to my gauge issues) and some festive yellow Japanese stitch holders, since all I can find right now are giant ones.

    I had to heroically resist purchasing more sock yarn. It was hard, because they had a couple of bands we don't have at home, plus a great Cherry Tree Hill selection. But, I am trying SO hard to get the stash to go down, not up! I think I deserve some sort of medal. Of course, the fact that I bought 4 pairs of shoes on this trip shows I really do not have good resistance to my weaknesses, so that would take away my medal.

    Speaking of socks, 5 more rows and Coupling will be footwear! I can wear them to the LYS tomorrow! I am now trying to decide whether to make the Monkey socks or something of my own design with the Socks That Rock yarn-cake in line next.

    Oh, and here's a photo of the Common Threads shop from the outside--do drop by if you are ever in the High Point of the Piedmont Triangle and support a new store!

    Thursday, July 5, 2007

    More on That Darned Sock

    Oh, mostly I wanted to put the word "coupling" on Flickr again, ha.

    But I figure it deserved another photo, since I figured out why I was so confused by the gusset instructions. The designer asked me to send her the corrections, which I actually HAD intended to do this evening or tomorrow (really, Deb, I did). She found the RS/WS mistake (as readers of the comments from Monday will see), so I went to find the others. I didn't have my printed instructions with me, so I went back to the original pattern. I looked at it, and said to myself, "Hmm, those numbers add up just fine, and I completely understand the instructions. And, Hmm, the M1 instructions also are clear. They weren't before!"

    Then, I said, "DOH." I should have realized--I had printed too quickly and gone straight from my web browser (rather than cutting and pasting into Word, which I usually do), and the good ole color laser printer had cut off the very edges of the text! The correct number of stitches for the pattern row (28) was NOT on my printout, but it is there in the pattern! Magically, the pattern makes complete sense when you see all of it. The final K1 on the gusset instructions was also AWOL.

    I should have known, because I did realize that you didn't knit 3 stitches to turn the heel, so I looked it up on my dad's computer and saw that 33[35] had been cut off. I should have put 2 + 2 together at that point and realized my issues with the gusset were due to poor printing, not typos.

    So, though I did find a tiny typo or two, the gusset and heel were perfectly written. So, trust Deb, and go knit these socks. You will truly love the nice cupped heel and the airy pattern. Sorry for the confusion!

    A Day Late...but...and Coupling Update

    Originally uploaded by sunasak
    In honor of the US Independence Day holiday yesterday, here's a photo of my US Flag socks. I made them last year from what I think was an Opal yarn (?). I am proud of them because I kept the striping pattern intact by doing the heel out of yarn from the other end of the ball of yarn. That also conveniently made the heel and toe blue. And luckily, both socks matched pretty well. I used up pretty much ALL of the blue parts to the ball of yarn, and only have red and white stripes left over.

    Did I wear them yesterday? No. But I didn't leave the house, due to being in the monsoon season in Texas. (Floods are bad, folks--we drove through a lot of sad looking stuff in North Texas, and ALL our new grass in the backyard is GONE.)

    So, to update on Coupling, as usual I posted a photo to my Flickr site, to share with others. Well, apparently either there are a lot of Knitty fans out there OR a lot of people search the word "coupling" on Flickr to look for titliating content. Geez Louise. Most of my photos have perhaps a dozen or two hits. This one has been up just a few days and has 124. I hope people enjoy the enticing view of my leg, wearing a sock.

    The second sock is partway up the leg, so I should finish it this week or weekend. I did manage to knit more than one entire sock in the car on our two-day trip. I started the trip just above the heel on Sock #1 and got a bit farther than that on Sock #2 when my hands simply gave out on Tuesday. I don't think I could knit for a living. But, then, I think I knitted at least 8 hours that day.

    I'll get back to the surplice top this weekend!

    Monday, July 2, 2007

    Coupling, from Knitty, on the Road

    Coupling, from Knitty
    Originally uploaded by sunasak

    I've been on the road in North Carolina since last Monday, and doing a lot of knitting. Well, as much as I could, what with visiting, working, and sight-seeing.

    I finished the Trekking Pro Natura pair, and the second one fit better than the first. Then I started these, which, as the title says, are Coupling, from the current knitty.com offerings. I had a bit of trouble with the instructions (I do think there is a mistake in the heel, as it seems to think you'll have a zillion stitches at one point, and there is a 48 that should be a 28 in the numer of stitches you should have one one needle. And I had a bit of trouble following the toe instructions, too--I was told to purl a row I was pretty sure I should knit, and told the knit side was the WS. In good news, the second toe has turned out even better, after going over the instructions many times

    Nonetheless, look, it's a sock! The heel is very nice and fits better than a plain flapped heel. The yarn really isn't the best for the pattern, but it looks sorta cool, and feels very good. I am enjoying working on the socks, and look forward to tomorrow's ten hours of knitting time to see how far I get on the second one.

    Also on the trip, I got one of the bottom sections of a top in natural dyed cotton yarn, called the Surplice Lace Top, from the Nashua North American Designer Collection No. 4. The yarn is Natural Focus Ecologie Cotton, in logwood. It's a subtly motled yarn, due to the dye process.

    I will be able to post more once I am home tomorrow! I will also post a cropped picture of the sock so you can see it, later.

    (see July 5 post with photo of this sock for the explanation of why I had problems)