Knitty Keen

Knitting, knitting, and some more knitting

The more things change… January 20, 2016

…the more they stay the same.  I have signed onto yet another Mystery Knit-a-long, this one by a designer new to me called Casapinka.  The shawl is called Welcome Back Garter and looks like it will be interesting based on her other designs.  I won’t be able to start this one for almost a month when funds become available, but I’m sure it’ll be fun.  I’m going to branch out again and use something other than my shawl go-to, Tosh Merino Light.  The colorways just aren’t doing it for me any more so any suggestions for fingering weight yarns would be greatly appreciated.

In other news, I’ve decided to jump on the bandwagon my Facebook knitting group is on and make myself a pair of Rose City Rollers – only using ribbing instead of the rolled cuff which I know would drive me crazy.  I have 60+ grams of Tough Love Sock in Honey Fig leftover from The Doodler and I was going to do a pair of No Purl Monkey socks with the Pistachio for the cuffs, heels, and toes, but I can easily get a pair of anklets out of what’s left of the Honey Fig, and I like wearing ankle socks anyway.  One of my knitting New Year’s resolutions is to knit a pair of socks a month so even though I finished a pair already this month, I’m not really counting them because I started them back in November.

In the land of UFO’s (another resolution) – the Grass and Bubblegum shawl is two inches away from being finished.  Just in time to since I’m going to need it in the cold weather since my scarf has gone missing.  I still have The Desolation of Smaug (yeah, that’s how old it is) Mystery Knit-a-long to finish, two other shawls that need to be blocked, and to finish weaving in the ends (oh so many ends) on my Doodler so I need to get on the ball.  Lots to do until the funds are available for Welcome Back Garter.

I’m also treating myself to a set of Barbara Walker’s stitch dictionaries.  I just got the one with charted designs and it’s very nice.  Some beautiful cable designs – not as pretty as some in the Vogue Knitting Stitchionary but much more practical in my opinion.  I’m hoping for another when my birthday comes along next month, but I’ll have the set before the year is out.

I’ve been staying on top of it, so check the Knitty Keen Facebook page for Work in Progress Wednesday pics and the occasional Finished Object Friday.  Here’s the most recent finished object – my Crazy Zauberball garter rib socks.

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TTFN!

 

What’s in the works January 8, 2015

Haven’t done one of these in an age in a half.  I’ve been posting Work in Progress Wednesday pics on my Facebook page but I haven’t taken the time to write up what I’ve been doing.

Color Affection

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I started this way back on October 17th.  Started off with Madelinetosh Tosh Merino Light in Oak, Nutmeg, and Golden Hickory.  Finished the first section only to find out that I had read the instructions wrong and had to frog the whole thing.  Got through the second section and started the third when I realized the Golden Hickory had too much green in it and blended in with the Oak, so I ordered a skein of Sequoia and that did the trick.  I finished the knitting on it about two weeks ago and am only now getting a chance to block it so I can gift it on Sunday.  Once I got into the rhythm of it it was a great watching/listening to TV knit.  Not super portable once you get to three colors, I had to arrange the balls around me in a certain way so I didn’t get tangles.  I have yarn to make myself one which I’ll most likely be starting next month.

 

No Purl Monkey Socks

 

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These were started about the same time as Color Affection, but they were finished on the Sunday before Christmas.  No real problems with these except for my needle bending which made them painful to knit.  The yarn is Dream in Color Smooshy with Cashmere in Deep Sea Flower.  Despite the painful knitting, the yarn was a dream to work with.  I was worried that they would be too small for their intended recipient since the pattern called to start the toe 1.5″ from the length of foot and I’ve always done 2″, this was one of the first times I was working directly from a pattern and not just a lace chart and my own measurements.  I went with the 2″ and they fit her perfectly.

 

Snowmen

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These were the bane of my existence this holiday season.  The plan was to have the pattern go live the beginning of November with a stock of finished ornaments and kits to make them to sell in my Etsy Shop.  Illness got in the way and that launch date got pushed further and further back until I just decided it wasn’t happening this year and I’ll try for next year.  I managed to get 4 bodies done but only finished two of them to give as teacher gifts.

 

Neck Warmer

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This was a quick and dirty knit for my son who needed something to keep his neck and face warm.  I used my Neck Warmer pattern but instead of the pattern stitch I did 2×2 ribbing since it was for a child.  It does look nicer than this in person since the ends have been woven in and it’s been blocked.  Only problem is that Thing 1 declared that it’s too itchy so he hasn’t worn it.  This is some Patons Classic Wool I had in my stash so next time I’ll have to go with something softer since he does have sensitive skin.  It’ll be a good back up for my husband.

 

Pomatomus

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I call these my Earth and Sea socks.  They are knit from River City Yarn’s Adam & Eve, a merino, cashmere, and nylon blend in a color way called Walnut.  The yarn was a gift from a friend in Canada and the yarn made exclusively for the yarn shop.  I have always loved Pomatomus, but I was afraid that the sock would be too tight on my big feet so I used the advice in Cookie A’s Sock Innovation to alter the leg chart to a 14st repeat and altered the instep chart accordingly.  I was a bit nervous about the instep chart since it has those two bits on either side, but when it came time for me to do the second instep repeat it worked!  I probably could have done another half a repeat before starting the toe, but it still looks good.

 

Monkey Jacobus

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This is the head and neck of Monkey Jacobus.  The first snag came when the Knit Picks Bare Merino Fingering (which they don’t make any more) I was planning to use for the face was moth eaten, so I had to use Knit Picks Palette instead which is a different base from the Knit Picks Stroll Hand Painted Sock in Carnival (a discontinued color) that I was using for the body.  Second snag is that knitting this pattern in fingering is a study in frustration.  I’m supposed to gift it on Sunday and I don’t have any real worries about finishing it on time but weaving in ends and using new techniques are that much harder when using US Size 2 (2.75mm) needles.  I’m sorely tempted to see what I have in stash to do this in worsted weight, but I’ve already come so far that I’m going to see it through to the end.

 

Gloves

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This is actually my third go round with this pattern.  The yarn in Three Irish Girls Glenhaven Cashmerino Sock in Kathmandu that I bought last January.  After some searching for a pattern for my larger than average hands, I settled on Ann Budd’s basic glove pattern from her book, The Knitter’s Handy Book of Patterns.  I decided to start out with a woman’s large at 8sts/inch.  Turns out that I get 7sts/inch on my US Size 2.5 (3.0mm) needles, so I frogged and decided to try the women’s large at the proper gauge.  When I got to the finger I knew that this wasn’t going to work since I could barely slide it on.  I’ve decided to go back to my original 8sts/inch women’s large (basically a men’s medium) knowing everything will be a bit larger because of the gauge difference but I’m sure I’ll get a better fit.

 

There’s a lot coming up – a sweater for me, a shawlette pattern that I need to do one more time before I have it tested and published, two shawls to finish and one to start, and stockings to make.  Due to illness, I didn’t get much knitting done in 2014, but 2015 will be different.  TTFN!

 

Sock Break June 12, 2013

I’ve had an epiphany about the sooper seekrit project and it’s going to be smaller and much more manageable than I originally intended.  As such, I’ve lessened the pace at which I’m working on it so I’m not posting a WIP Wednesday picture of it on my Facebook page.  Instead, I pulled out a hibernating WIP, my toe-up heel-flap sock.

Toe-up sock

 

If it doesn’t look that much different from the last picture I posted of it, it’s because it isn’t.  I took it with me to work on while the kids were playing in the park tonight, so I only got a few rounds done.  I think I’ve figured out how I’m going to alter it to accommodate my high instep.  I need about an extra half inch of heel flap, which would translate to an extra inch of gusset so instead of starting the gusset at 7.5″ for my foot as recommended in Socks from the Toe Up, I’m going to start my gusset at 6.5″ and place a life line before I turn the heel.  It will still probably take a while before I get there since this is my park and doctor’s office knitting, but when I do I’ll post the changes I made to Wendy’s pattern.

So it’s sock knitting for tonight then back to seekrit projects tomorrow.

 

Finished Objects and Fluffy Mail May 3, 2013

I finally have some FOs to post.  First off are a pair of socks.

Black Magic SocksOriginal pattern

Great Adirondack Yarn Co Caribou, Black Magic II

US Size 2.5 (3.0mm) Needles

They were my, “knit when I have five minutes to spare project,” which is why they took so long to complete.  I ran into a couple of snafus in the second sock where I had more stitches on my bottom needle than my top needle.  I of course found this out as I was half way through kitchnering the toe.  I just frogged back to the bottom of the foot and added another pair of decreases because I was not going to add in more yarn to do another two rounds so I could decrease properly.  A few years ago, that is what I would have done, but now it’s not like anyone is going to be looking that closely at my toes.  I did do something a little bit different, I did the heel flap 3.25″ rather than the 3″ I usually use.  I’ll have to wait and see if that makes any difference in how they fit.

Another project that’s finally finished after much frogging and gnashing of teeth is my Saroyan Scarf.

Saroyan Scarf stretched out

Saroyan Scarf detailSaroyan

Madelinetosh Pashmina Sport, Golden Hickory

US Size 8 (5.0mm) Needles

I ran into all sorts of trouble with this one, but it’s finally done.  The skein was definitely more than 100g — I weighed the scarf for the yarn marathon and it came in at 101 grams and I still have some left over.  I couldn’t get a good shot of the whole thing, but it’s just a bit more than the length of my sofa.  It grew a lot when I blocked it and it still curls despite the garter edge which I find annoying.  My main complaint with the pattern and something which would have made it so much easier for me to do was she charted the leaf pattern but didn’t include the increases and decreases on the chart.  As it turned out I ended up only doing 4 increases per repeat as opposed to five because I was having such problems following the written instructions.  I put in the decreases on the chart myself and when I was done after only five repeats (I used 8 in the increase section) I knew I was in trouble somewhere.  I had to frog back to the straight section and start all over again with four decreases per repeat.  I also changed where the decreases went.  In the increase section she has the MILs right before you started the leaf pattern but on the decrease section she has you do a k2tog, k1 before the leaf pattern.  I changed it so it would be even but if I were to make it again I’s do MIL, K1 and K2tog, K1 so there would be a solid edge running next to the leaf pattern.

All in all the leaf pattern is pretty and the yarn is so soft and warm so it’ll make a nice addition to my winter wear next year.  I ended up with 8 pattern repeats in the increase and decrease section and ten repeats in the straight section.

Now onto fluffy mail!

Knitpicks Stroll Tonal

This is for a sooper seekrit project so I can’t say more.

On the needles right now (aside from the green sweater I keep saying I’m going to start working on again) is a sock I’m knitting up using instructions from Socks From the Toe Up: Essential Techniques and Patterns from Wendy Knits by Wendy Johnson.

Toe-up Sock

The good news is that the stitch count she uses for her size large socks is just about what I use for myself when I knit with my US size 2.5 (3.00mm) needles, so I don’t have to change anything on that count.  This means I can knit all of the socks in the book without having to muss with the pattern repeats.  I’m doing the heel flap sample sock and the annoying thing is that I have to figure out myself how to accommodate my high instep.  I think I’m just about at the point where I would begin the gusset increases so I’m going to have to break out the book and figure out how to make the change for a larger gusset.

One thing this reminds me about toe-up socks — how much I hate M1Rs, especially with a blunt tip needle.  I have to say I’m very disappointed with my Knitpicks size 2.5 needle because it’s barely pointier than my Addi Turbo needle.  It is a bit pointier, which makes a M1R a bit easier, but it’s still a PITA.

I’m woefully behind on the yarn marathon, but I’m still not up to speed on my knitting.  If I can ever get than damned sweater finished, it will bump me up considerably, but as it is I’m lagging behind at not quite a mile.  So here’s hoping for getting my knitting mojo back.

 

Lots of Mail (and a bit of knitting too) April 6, 2013

I haven’t been doing too much knitting the past week or so, but I have been getting a lot of mail.  First off are two books that I picked up from Amazon.

Entrelac Essential Guide

This was purchased on a whim when someone recommended it to me — Entrelac, The Essential Guide to Interlace Knitting by Rosemary Drysdale.  I’ve only done a quick perusal of it, so I don’t have enough to give it a proper review.  At first glance though she shows you how to do some really neat things with entrelac.  I’ve loved entrelac knitting ever since I first saw it years ago.  I even made my oldest’s Christmas stocking in entrelac as well as my favorite pair of fingerless mitts.  I’m out of practice with doing it though so I’ll use the instructions in the book to make a few swatches.  Look for a full review in the coming weeks.

socks from the toe up

This was a no brainer — Socks From the Toe Up by Wendy Johnson.  I used to follow her blog when she first started out and my first couple of pairs of socks were knit from the toe up (I even converted Pomatomus to toe-up).  I’ve only been using top-down for the past few years because of my high instep and the better fit I get with a heel flap.  After the rave reviews I’ve gotten about this book from Super Stella Sox and a few others, I finally decided to get the book.  At first glance I’m pretty excited.  It doesn’t have too much information on adjusting fit which is my big beef with most sock books, but it does have a heel I’ve never tried before and I’m pretty sure I can alter it to accommodate my high instep.  I also look forward to using the Turkish cast on and a sewn bind off again which are both things that I love.  Again, once I’ve gotten to play with this a bit more I’ll post a full review.

This year I’m going to attempt to make my kids matching sweaters for Christmas.  I had grand plans for this about 4 years ago and got as far as designing the cable patterns and actually making a sweater for my youngest (which he never did get around to wearing).  I’m thinking of using the same cable pattern again and making them ganseys rather than full cable knit sweaters.

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Not the best picture of the swatch, but I already have it charted out so it’ll be easier than starting from scratch.  I decided to let them pick out the colors they wanted for their sweaters and after a few false starts with garish shades of yellow, I got them to agree to a nice burnt orange color.

Orange Yarn

Webs is having a sale on Cascade 220 superwash, so I was able to scoop up what will probably be too much yarn for a really good price.  This project won’t be started until probably this summer at which point I’m sure I’ll have changed the design of the sweaters at least five times.

In WIP news, I’m in the straight section of my Saroyan scarf and should be starting the decrease section after a few more repeats.  I love knitting with the pashmina and I’m looking forward to finding another excuse to use it again.

Saroyan Scarf

I’ve also started working on my second Black Magic sock.  The Saroyan is my main project, but I need to be able to read the chart so it’s not as portable as a sock.

Black Magic sock

I usually tend to work on it while I’m waiting for the kids to fall asleep because it’s simple enough that I can knit it by the light of their night light.

I still haven’t touched my green sweater and I’m going to have to get it finished soon or I’ll have to wait until the fall to wear it because the weather is rapidly changing.  I’m hoping I can push myself to get some work done on it this week for sure.

 

Shopping! (and some knitting too) February 8, 2013

I have not been in a LYS for such a long time, probably more than a year.  I went out on Saturday to check out a new place opened by one of the members of my knitting group called Hidden River Yarns.  It’s a bit off the beaten path for me but worth the trip.

Hidden River Yarns

I ended up with a skein of Dream in Color Smooshy sock yarn, some miniskeins for my sock yarn blanket, and some stitch markers for a yarn swap I’m doing.  They had some cashmere blend sock yarn that I was sorely tempted to by as well as some gorgeous handspun.  I’ll be heading back up there on the 17th to work on my long hibernating sock yarn blanket, so I may succumb yet.

This afternoon, I hit two stores closer to home.  My first stop was Loop.  It’s always been one of my favorites, bright and airy with a nice selection of sock yarns which is what I always look for first.

Madelinetosh Tosh Merino Light

 

This is a skein of Madelinetosh Tosh Merino Light in Vanilla Bean.  I wasn’t planning on getting this particular color.  I am planning on making a shawl with it and needed to coordinate with another skein of Tosh Merino Light that I got as a gift two years ago.  I’ll be doing the Stella Luna shawl in a wonderful deep purple and the Vanilla Bean.

Stella Luna ShawlMadelinetosh Tosh Merino Light

The purple in the Vanilla Bean isn’t the same as the purple in the other yarn, but it’s close enough to be able to pull it all together.  I’m hoping to be able to cast-on for this by the end of the month, once I can get some new cables and needle tips for my interchangeables.

My second stop today was Rosie’s Yarn Cellar.  It’s nice and cozy and again has a wonderful selection of sock yarns.  I have been very interested in checking out the new Manos sock yarn, Alegria, and was not disappointed.  I wasn’t brave enough to get one of the neon blends, but there is always next time.

Yarn

 

I like the colors in the skein I picked a lot and am thinking about trying out one of the patterns from the Knitter’s Book of Socks if it’s not too much trouble to alter it to fit my foot.  The top skein is some Noro Iro, their bulky wool/silk blend, that I bought for my swap along with the Soak samples.

Enough about yarn, no onto some knitting.  I have not been working on this anyway near enough, but here’s my progress on my new green sweater.  It’s a top-down raglan using the Incredible Custom-Fit Raglan Pattern.  I’m about to start my third ball and am a few inches away from breaking off for the sleeves.  I’m worried about running out of yarn on this one so I’m going to put in a lifeline at 3/4 length for the sleeves and then knit the body and see if I can get away with long sleeves or not.  Here’s the progress I’ve made so far.

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I’m using School Products Provence Merino Lace, doubled on US Size 8 (5mm) needles.  I need to have it finished by March 9th when I go to New York so I can wear a sweater I made myself (something that’s only happened once before).

 

 

 

The Knitter’s Book of Socks January 14, 2013

Filed under: Books,Knitting,Socks,What's in the Works,WIP's — knittykeen @ 11:28 pm
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I just got this in the mail today and was very excited to read it.  The beginning of the book has all sorts of technical information about different fibers and yarns and how they work in different patterns in the book.  Some emphasis is placed on making your socks more durable through stitch and yarn choice.  What it does not have is information about fit and adjusting your patterns which is what I thought it would contain.  As written, there looks to be only a few patterns that I can use for my big, wide, high instep feet.  There are several socks that I’d like to make from my quick perusal of the patterns, but as per usual I am going to have to do some heavy revisions to make socks that will actually fit my feet.

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Thankfully, I have my handy copy of Cookie A’s Sock Innovation which does have info on how to alter patterns to accommodate different sized feet.  The chart she has on how to do a trapezoidal heel for any sized heel flap is priceless and one that I use all the time in my sock knitting.

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Sensational Knitted Socks is another good reference book as it has size charts for practically every sized foot available, and not just length but circumference as well for narrow, medium and wide feet.  It has some nice things to say about sock structure and all of the patterns in the book can be altered to fit any sized foot.

I look forward to reading the individual patterns more closely in The Knitter’s Guide to Socks but I have to say I’m not as excited about it as I though I’d be.  It’s definitely worth having in your library, the designers she got for the book are fantastic, just don’t expect information about fit from it.

In knitting news, I’m well on my way with my second No Purl Monkey sock, about an inch to go on the heel flap before I turn the heel.  In an effort to keep the stitch pattern intact, the socks are a little bit longer than I usually like for my foot, so there’s not a nice, snug fit.  I also made the cuff much longer than I normally do and it fits my large calves nicely, any higher and it would be too tight.  I’m also working on mittens for my kids in some Peace Fleece and US Size 6 (4.0mm) needles.  The youngest’s pair should be finished tomorrow and then I can get the measurements the older’s pair and hopefully have them done by the end of the week.