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Archive for the ‘Socks’ Category

My husband said that I should call these the Hershey Kiss stockings. I’m still trying to decide if they sufficiently satisfy my chocolate cravings.

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Schoolhouse Press publishes a pattern packet called “Arch-Shaped Stockings” (if you follow the link, you’ll need to scroll down a bit) that contains 6DSCN1027 variations on a sock shaping that sucks itself right up against the arch of the foot. As my arches are quite high (plantar fasciitis, anyone?) I found the premise to be interesting; most of my socks are a little baggy under my arch. Lo and behold, the finished stockings fit my arches (and the rest of my foot, and my calves) perfectly!

The pattern was mentally engaging and lots of fun, although my somewhat extensive sock knitting experience was extremely handy; I wouldn’t recommend this pattern for beginners. They knit up much faster than stockings usually do; colorwork, in my experience, always goes faster than solid color knitting. I think that it is because the stitches in colorwork have more vertical height. Fewer rows are required to knit a given length, yielding a faster project.

DSCN1019 I used the Vuorelma Satakieli yarn which is suggested in the pattern and also sold by Schoolhouse Press. Although the yarn was wonderful to work with, I wouldn’t use it for stockings I planned to give to anyone, or at least anyone that I wanted to still like me: it’s a bit itchy. I can and do wear uber-scratchy Shetland wool right next to my skin on a regular basis, so I’m OK with itchy. I think that I’ll have to wear them the next time I ride my bike to church!

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Knitting is a fairly useful craft. Sweaters, socks, even lace shawls – they are all fairly functional. Crochet, not so much. I have a crocheted snood that I wear on a regular basis, and some crocheted socks that are quite comfy, but most crochet is relegated to decorative function only.

Tatting – now I haven’t quite figured out what is is useful for. At least it is easy! It is also quite cheap. High-quality mercerized cotton thread for tatting and crochet generally doesn’t run more than a few dollars a ball (this is what initially attracted me to thread crochet as well) and basic tools are fairly inexpensive as well, although antique and vintage tatting shuttles can go for quite a bit. Yep, you guessed it: I spent my weekend learning to tat.

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Speaking of thread crochet – a few weeks ago I picked up a Japanese book full of thread crochet patterns, mostly doilies. The book have so little English that I’m not even sure what the title is, although I can tell that the designer’s name is Ondori. I can tell you that the international crochet chart symbols are everything they’re cracked up to be. The patterns are beautiful and the charts wonderfully easy to read! It is the kind of book that makes one want to sit around and make doilies all day.

I’m also on something of a spinning kick. I’ve spun quite a bit here and there, mostly sampling the differentDSCN0066 types of fibers available, but not generally enough of anything to do a project with. A few nights ago, however, I finished and skeined about 200 yards of heavy two-ply laceweight in a 50/50 merino-tussah silk blend that I bought from Lynn’s Texas Fibers while at Kid ‘N Ewe last fall. The fiber is lovely and silky, and as you can see from the photo I’ve spun and plied it quite loosely in order to preserve that lofty silkiness.

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Lest anyone think I’ve been slacking off in the knitting department, I also have to show Attempt #3 at making a shawl out of my Habu bamboo laceweight. My first and second pattern selections refused to play nicely with the yarn, so now I am seeing how it goes with the Hidcote Garden Shawl. So far, so good… which is what I said regarding the first two projects… I really do like the yarn. Knit up, it has a drape and flow that is like nothing so much as water, and should make a nice shawl for hot summer days.

DSCN0067I’m also on another pair of socks, of course, even though we are well out of sock-wearing season. This pattern is out of the Holiday 07 Interweave Knits. This is my second project out of that issue, which was quite good and sold out very fast. I guard my copy very carefully, and intend to make a few more things from it still.

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Seen from my bike:

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A hang gliding class! You can’t tell from the photo, but they are at the top of a nice hill. I’ve seen this class a few times now, either standing at the top of the hill, or hauling the glider back up from the bottom. One of these days maybe I’ll actually see someone in flight!

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I did a little bit of re-organization last week on this blog. While I was going through some old posts, it struck me that I’ve been getting lazy about taking good photos. So, of course, we then had dark, cloudy skies for several days in a row, with a little rain here and there. This morning, however, I spotted a ray of sunshine! So I broke out the tripod, dusted off the lightbox, and headed out to the backyard to take some photos.DSCN1167

You would know, the sun went back behind a cloud.

However, it wasn’t quite so gray and dismal, and too much bright sunlight is just as bad as not enough, so I persevered and had fun experimenting with different flash settings.

Lightweight Mountain Peaks is done! It does look quite nice. More photos in the next post, and then it goes in the mail.

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I’ve cast on my next shawl, Shetland Garden Faroese shawl, designed by Silvia Harding. I noticed right away that the pattern uses only K2tog decreases; in other words, no directional decreases. I am using a yarn made by Habu, a bamboo “silk” in cobweb weight. When I swatched for this shawl, I experimented with different types of directional and non-directional decreases. I’m glad that I did, as I suspect that the bamboo is less forgiving than a wool yarn DSCN1148 would be. The lace patterns look radically different depending on the decreases used. So, I broke out the stitch dictionary and lightly edited the lace charts on the shawl pattern, adding SSK, P2tog and P2togtbl decreases where appropriate.

My current sock is nothing noteworthy: after ripping back three different lace patterns, I decided that the yarn really didn’t look good with any kind of pattern, so I’m now making a nice plain ribbed sock.

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What is noteworthy about the sock is that I’ve finally started using the DPN tubes that a friend gave me as a Christmas gift. This is a great little contraption! You slide the smaller tube around the top of the work and the DPNs…

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…and then slide the larger tube around the smaller one. No more reaching into my purse to grab the sock and coming out with one needle too few!

I had looked around locally a few months ago to try and find a set of tubes without success. I think that my friend got these from Knitpicks.

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I have ordered, and am waiting ever-so-patiently, for the extra ball of yarn for that @#$! sweater. In the meantime, I am at least getting lots of other stuff done!

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The photos of the alpacas are from last Saturday, when I went with a group of friends to three yarn shops south of here. The primary purpose of our visit was to visit the Yarn Barn in San Antonio, which will be closing soon. We also visited Yarnivore, up near the SA airport, and returned to Old Oaks Ranch, home of the alpacas. Nicki and Sally have already blogged about the trip, so I’ll skip the commentary.

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I’ve gotten lots done on the Lightweight Mountain Peaks Shawl, although it isn’t very evident from the photo. Lace never looks like anything until it is blocked.

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Also in progress is “Arch-Shaped Stockings,” a pattern I discovered on Ravelry. Users of that service can look up the patter there. The first stocking is going surprisingly fast, although this photo was taken after I decided that I did not like how my decreases were going and ripped out several inches of work.

Also in progress is a new sock, the Coriolis from Cat Bordhi’s New Pathways in Sock Knitting, and a felted cover for my long-overdue, shiny new cellphone.

Now, if that yarn could only magically arrive here overnight – I want to finish that sweater!

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While posting about the other socks yesterday, I forgot to include my husband’s new green socks!

DSCN10011 Knit with Knitpick’s Essentials, in a nice dark green color, on 1.5 mm needles. I forget the actual color name. This is the second pair which I have made for him out of Essentials. He really seems to like the feel of the yarn, it holds up extremely well in the wash, it has plenty of yardage (after knitting a size 11 men’s sock with a 7″ cuff, I still had plenty left over from each ball) and it’s cheap! cheap! cheap! So, there will be more Essentials in both of our futures. I think that I’ll order undyed yarn for his next pair, so he can still have a nice plain color that he likes, and I can work on my dyeing skills.

He’s quite happy with his new socks, and was very nice about posing for photos. This weekend, he even made me an apple pie! What a nice man.

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One of the Ann-trelac socks is done! Well, I still need to graft the toe. The second sock is well underway.

DSCN1003 As my husband is probably tired of hearing, entrelac is quite fun. First, you make a little block. The little block takes all of about 2 minutes. How satisfying, to finish something in 2 minutes! So then, you make another little block… and another… and another… and pretty soon it’s time for supper, and nothing is thawed out, and I have no idea why the program that is on the television is on, except that I was watching something else on that channel an hour or two ago, but I have rows and rows of nice little blocks, so it’s all OK, right?

The yarn – Schaffer Ann – is quite comfy, and I made the sock a little large, so it is quite snuggly and roomy. I’ve held off on grafting the toe, just to be sure that I’ll have enough yarn for the second sock. I’m fairly sure that I do, but just in case I don’t, it will be easy to rip back and rework the foot portion of the first sock just a tad smaller if I haven’t done the grafting yet.

More on the sock front: I finally got around to buying New Pathways for Sock Knitters. What a fun little book. I spent a large part of yesterday working up the first demonstration sock. Actually, I made a pair, and I have enough yarn left DSCN1008 over to make a matching hat. I’m thinking that I’ll embroider some little flowers or something on them, and then the next time anyone has a baby girl, I’ll have something ready!

The book is gives some very specific, non-standard instructions for some rather standard techniques, so the first demonstration sock was a bit of a pain in the tail end to work. However, the results were totally worth it. Check out the short rows on this heel:

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I stayed up until midnight reading the rest of the book. I’m still working on Venezia, I swear I am, just not yesterday.

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DSCN0997 Now, two sleeves and a hem! (and one row of colorwork.) Other knitters who have blogged about this pattern have reported the bottom hem to be quite tedious. Although I didn’t think that it was too terribly awful, I am glad that it’s done. Now, onward and upward.

I talked about my Anntrelac socks in my last post. Since then, I’ve discovered that I somehow have nine little tilting blocks in each row, instead of the eight called for in the pattern. I tried the now 3″ long sock cuff on, however, and decided to leave it as it is, because it fits me quite nicely. I’ve done enough top-down socks to depart from the pattern, anyway. The challenge, of course, will be to replicate my mistake on the second sock. I might start that sock sooner rather than later, just in case I can’t make it come out the same way and need to frog the cuff I already have.

In other news, for interested friends, family, and random Internet strangers who have all been following my health: I’ve only had 2 migraines in the last 30 days! I’m also not having nearly so much daily pain. The new preventative meds from the neurologist seem to be working pretty well. My husband and I actually went to a movie last night! We had to miss quite a few movies that we wanted to see last year (the sound made my head hurt worse; I’ve also missed quite a bit of church for the same reason) so this is a Big Deal. Everyone please keep your fingers crossed that this continues to work so well.

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