Archive for the 'Knitting' Category

‘Twas all for naught

November 16th, 2007

Note to the alert: Yes, I falsified the date stamp on this post.   It’s been sitting around, waiting for pictures for days.   Sue me.

On the way to Point Reyes a few weeks ago, I compelled Matt to stop in Fairfax so I could go to the yarn store. We were last in Fairfax in February, rather early in my knitting career. (We went hiking with the dogs in the water district, primarily notable because Henry sat in a puddle.) It was a little disappointing the second time around, as it’s more of a fabric shop than a yarn shop, but I managed to acquire a sock book and some lovely yarn that I had no plan for but loved the color of:

sheep shop yarn

We got home, I put the yarn in my stash, and that was that. Until I saw a post on the Yarn Harlot’s blog about a hat she designed. Eureka! I thought. There’s the perfect hat for my yarn.

I finally made it to the yarn store to buy needles last weekend. [Begin needle rant] Knitting needles come in different sizes. US sizes start at 0 (small) and go up from there. Metric sizes are equivalent to the diameter of the needle, and thus much more precise. Let’s say one needs a small US needle. There are four size zero needles. (0000, 000, 00, 0 — I only wish I were making this up.) To make things worse, size 0 might vary, depending on the manufacturer. Some are 1.75 mm and some are 2 mm. Remind me again why we don’t use the metric system? [End needle rant]

[Begin secondary needle rant] The pattern for this hat calls for 7 mm needles. When I get to the store, I find size 10.5 needles (6.5 mm) and size 11 needles (8 mm). The store employee suggested using the 10.5 size, so that’s what I bought. Mistake number 1: I know I tend to knit tightly. So why did I decide to buy needles that were already too small? Because the appropriate needles (US size 10.75, apparently) weren’t available. [End secondary needle rant]

I cast on for the hat today. It’s a lickety-split knit, and I finished tonight. Except. It’s too small.

too-small hat

So now I have to unravel it all (!!!) and start again. Poop.

Croc socks

November 12th, 2007

I’m back on the knitting wagon and have a serious case of second sock syndrome (meaning I have 3+ orphan socks waiting for mates), which number includes a sock for Matt made out of a vile green yarn (he chose it).

The first attempt at socks from this yarn turned out poorly.   All the harvest gold pooled together, as did all the olive green, making what appeared to be camouflage socks.     Yuck.   Also, I somehow managed to kill the socks such that they were unraveling from two separate points.   I’m still not sure how I did that.

Anyway, I just finished the first sock of attempt number two, made with a ribbed treatment that, due to color and texture, has been dubbed the “croc sock.”   Here’s the croc sock in its natural habitat.

native habitat

But you know I didn’t stop there.   With a few amendments, the thing really looks like a crocodile.

croc sock

And everyone knows crocodiles eat meat.

croc eats Philip

Lots of meat.

croc eats Henry

Available for adoption

August 17th, 2007

Not the dogs; you don’t want them anyway. Rather, available for adoption is:

adopt-a-sock

one pair of socks. (Picture reflects only progress to date. I promise to finish this one and a partner. Also, the odd shaping is not the sock, it’s the fact that it’s being modeled by Mr. Bubbles. I own neither sock blockers nor hangers to make some.)

The saga begins in the Mendocino Yarn Shop (which I believe to be my favorite ever, though I admit I have limited experience), where I coveted sock yarn. Specifically, I coveted this sock yarn:

pastel yarn

but there appeared to be only one skein and one needs two for a pair of socks. Several yarn store visits later, Matt suggested I dig around in the yarn pile to look for another skein, and — lo! — I found one.

When I got home, I immediately cast on for a pair of socks with my prize, using a pattern from my new sock book, also acquired from the yarn store, and using my new needles (guess the provenance).

I love the needles. I love the pattern. Consequently, it may come as a surprise to you (it did to me) to find out that I HATE HATE HATE the sock. It turns out that there are several points of dispute between myself and the sock, all of which fall under the category of “personal problem.”

  1. I don’t like pastels.
  2. I have especially vehement negative feelings about pastel pink. (“Pastel pink” is not redundant. This skirt, one of my favorites, is definitely pink and just as definitely not a pastel shade.)
  3. The sock pattern and the yarn have conspired to bunch the pink sections together in glaring pink pools of color, thereby rubbing my face in point 2.

Adding insult to injury: When I turned the heel on the sock and started on the toe, I found that when knit in plain stockinette stitch (like on the sole of a sock, for example), the yarn variegates nicely, and the pink doesn’t screech at me.

This means that I could, conceivably, rip out the entire sock and start over, using only stockinette stitch, and get a color pattern that doesn’t offend me. However, though I do enjoy this pattern (and, on occasion, knitting in general), I don’t enjoy it enough to pull a Penelope and knit it over and over again for the sheer joy of it. I actually want a finished product at some point. Did I mention that the sock is half done?

Besides, the sock deserves better. It deserves someone who loves it just the way it is.

The upshot of this very long post: If you can give the socks a loving home, shout out in the comments. The pattern says they will fit a foot with about a 7.5″ circumference. You’ll probably need to be a woman. The pattern is written for a 9″ foot length, but that’s adjustable, so I’ll make them to fit you. (It would be easiest for me if you’d include your foot measurement — heel to longest toe — in the comments.)

If you don’t want the socks for yourself, but want them for your mom or something (Julie?), I’ll take that into consideration, too. Especially if there are no other takers.

Depending on the level of response I get, socks will be awarded either on a first come, first served basis, or a lottery. Having learned a thing or two from the Yarn Harlot, even if I finish the socks next week (don’t hold your breath), you’re probably getting them for Christmas.

With apologies to Dr. Seuss

July 18th, 2007

But if I adapt a book title a little, I get a reasonably good description of my recent knitting progress. It’s not quite chronologically accurate, but whatever.

One sock

one sock

Two sock

two sock

Red sock

red sock

Blue sock

blue sock

Astute readers will have noted that completing the blue sock leaves me, once again, with a pair like this:

red-blue pair

Oh well.   Instead of dwelling, let’s look at a close-up of the blue sock pattern.   The photo’s a little blurry, for several good reasons.   Reason 1: As Matt’s at work, I’m trying to take pictures of my own foot, which requires some contortion.   Reason 2: A macro lens has a limited depth of field, and feet aren’t particularly flat.   But anyway.

breeze closeup

The pattern is Breeze, from Knitty (of course), and if you look at the actual pattern, you’ll see how much better it looks in solid yarn.   My variegated yarn masks the pattern, but I don’t care.   Another thing that, by necessity, I don’t care about: in spite of the low cuff and lacy pattern, these are not summer socks — they’re made of wool.   Very warm.   Whatever.

What’s Kim been doing recently?

July 16th, 2007

Hmm, I wonder.

knitting socks

What a surprise!

In an attempt to reign in the budget a little, having just purchased a new sofa and all, I’m knitting exclusively from stash at the moment. I’ve been avoiding this particular yarn, as I didn’t like the way the last sock I tried with it turned out, but the new pattern is working out well.

Having knitted all day, I have about half a sock. Please bear that timeline in mind should you be considering a sock request.

A pair, this time

July 12th, 2007

handmadiest sock pair

Having knitted essentially non-stop for the past two? three? days, they’re done. I now have permission from Matt to order more handspun sock yarn from Etsy. And thus the cycle renews itself. . .

Now I have to tackle the dishes piled up in the sink.

My newest “pair” of socks

July 11th, 2007

“pair” of socks

No, they don’t match. You really noticed? Darn.

On the left is the lurid flamingo sock, finished since before school let out. I’ve made several abortive attempts at finishing it. The most recent is pretty credible, consisting of the sock cuff, heel, gusset, and the first 20% of the foot. . . but the stitches are a totally different size from the first sock.

This is unexpected, because I am knitting with the same needles, same yarn, same pattern, and same hands. But that’s how it goes when you’re learning.

So I’ve been switching back and forth between attempting the lurid flamingo’s mate and making the handmade-iest socks (right). Every time I hit a wall, I’d switch projects. Like a ping-pong, I’ve been bouncing back and forth (two false starts on the handmade-iest socks; I’ve lost track of the number on the lurid flamingos), and this is where I am at the moment. I choose to celebrate the positive — a pair of socks!

The handmade-iest socks ever

June 27th, 2007

When I was first exploring the idea of knitting socks, I bought a copy of the Twisted Sister Sock Workbook and was inspired by the beautiful socks made from hand-dyed, hand-spun yarn.

I’ve currently knitted a pair around-the-house socks for Matt out of super-soft, impractical baby alpaca yarn, a fingering-weight pair of socks for my mom for Mother’s Day (which I believe she finally received about a week ago, and one half of a pair of lace socks (I’m procrastinating on finishing the mate).   But I was still longing for hand-spun yarn.   How does one get hand-spun yarn, aside from taking up spinning?   One doesn’t.   One contents oneself with hand-dyed yarn, which is much easier to come by.   Or so I thought.

Enter Etsy.   Described in the New York Times as “a crafty cross between Amazon and eBay,” (and I couldn’t say it better myself), it is a veritable cornucopia of goodies — including hand-spun yarn.   Yay!

Here’s what I bought:

handspun yarn

And here’s what I’m making:

handmade-iest socks

Socks, of course.   Which brings me back to the title of this post — these are the handmade-iest things ever.   The fiber for the yarn was hand-dyed, then hand-spun into yarn, which I am now hand-knitting.   Eee!

Sock!

June 7th, 2007

Or, Thank God for sex (ed)

At the end of another day’s hard knitting and 5 presentations on birth control methods and STDs, the sock is done.   By 2:26, at the final bell, it was all done except the grafting of the toe stitches, a step that requires a needle.   I have two, but were they anywhere to be found?   No.   Naturally not.

Fortunately, though, I had a brainstorm.   As an elective, my school offers FACE (Family and Consumer Economics, an updated version of home ec), and the FACE teacher would surely have a needle.   She did, and it was a yarn needle, to boot.   So I used it to graft up the toe of my sock during faculty meeting (sitting in the front row).

Kim’s lurid flamingo sock 1

I was very pleased until some random impulse led me to check the original pattern page, where I saw the superior stitch definition in the pattern sample, and then I was sad.   Matt says that the pattern author has probably been knitting longer than I (six months).   I don’t care.

A close-up of the sock follows:

Lurid flamingo sock 1

School’s almost out. . .

June 6th, 2007

. . . 6 days now.   A presenter from Planned Parenthood is in my room this week teaching sex ed.   Today, we discussed abstinence.   More accurately, the presenter and the kids discussed abstinence, and I knitted.   I’m working on the foot of my lurid flamingo sock.   It’s coming along nicely, but I’m too lazy to take a picture right now, so perhaps later.

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