Cara has set up the blog for Crossed in Translation KAL. Hurrah!!!! I'm still working on my swatches, but really think I'm leaning toward the Briggs and Little Regal in Red BWO.
I've soooooo been looking forward to this! Join in the fun!
Friday, December 30, 2005
Thursday, December 29, 2005
Finally have a few minutes to update the blog with my Christmas gifts. I received from my folks and grandmother 9 skeins of Briggs and Little Regal in Quoddy Blue for the FLAK over on aranknit, the pattern book for the Crossed in Translation KAL, and the 2006 Knitting Pattern a Day calendar (already have several marked as projects I want to work on). From dh's folks I received 11 skeins of Bartlett Fisherman in Dark Heather for a cardigan. I was given the cash for all the above and purchased what I wanted! A dream come true for a knitter! Too much to hope that someone would go and find these things on their own--I'm too new a knitter for that. ETA: Forgot to add At Knits End from my darlin' daughter!
Dh and I just returned from a couple of days to ourselves while the kids visited his folks. Our favorite getaway spot is House Mountain Inn in Lexington, VA. This was our view of the Inn as we approached on the winding mountain road. This snow is still hanging around from the week after Thanksgiving. Gave a wonderful ambiance to our winter escape. We took the time to just relax after the hustle and bustle of the holiday season. Yesterday we visited Guy and Carole at Orchardside Yarn Shop. What a wonderful couple! They were very helpful as I searched for some yarn--bought 2 skeins of Trekking XXL and one of Cascade 220 for swatching for the Crossed in Translation KAL.
While we were away I worked on my Trekking XXL #100 socks--finished one and started the other. I also finally figured out chart A for the CIT sweater. It's a beautiful pattern, but those Bavarian twisted stitches had me flummoxed for a while. I had a terrible time figuring out the twisted traveling stitches (Bavarian Twisted stitches). I tried doing them the way they are pictured here (scroll down the stitch descriptions next to the flying fish symbols--read right to left) but just couldn't get the thing to look right. I know I ripped that hat and then swatch out at least three times. Finally, I sat down with Barbara Walker's Charted Knitting and read the section on how to read a chart--that helped. I had forgotten that the chart shows how every row will look from the right side, so I needed to be thinking the opposite stitch for the wrong side row. Secondly, I got online and tried to find some info on Bavarian Twisted stitch, and found what most of you already know--Meg Swansen did an article in Knitters a while back and has a woolgathering and video on the subject on the Schoolhouse Press site. But, I also found through good ol' google that there is a pattern using Bavarian Twisted stitch in Socks Soar on Two Circular Needles. Hey, I had that book on my shelf!!! I picked that up and compared the directions with the ones on the web site above, and I was golden! It didn't work for me to try and work both stitches on the same needle and then take them off at the same time; I had to take the stitches off, switch their position, and then work them according to the pattern. A pain, I know, but I'm just learning this type of stitch. I may be able to get to the point where I can do it in one step rather than three. But it worked and looks good in the yarn I was swatching with--haven't blocked/measured yet, though. I'll post a photo of my swatch after I've blocked it this evening. The first swatch I did in B&L Regal, and I plan on starting one tonight in the Cascade 220, just to see how well it fits the gauge for the sweater. I will probably knit the sweater with slightly fewer stitches per inch--on larger needles to get a larger sweater than the designer's result with 7 spi.
Posted by Jenny Raye at 12/29/2005 03:34:00 PM
Sunday, December 18, 2005
Yessssssssss, Christmas knitting is finished!!!! Just completed weaving in the ends on the second of the socks for my dad, and it's taking a Eucalan bath as I write. Tomorrow I will take photos and update this post with them--including all three pairs of socks in their nifty little sleeves.
Details on Dad's socks:
Pattern: Basic sock--stockinette foot, afterthought heel, 3x2 rib
Yarn: Briggs and Little Tuffy Smoke
Needle: Sz 6 40" Addi Turbo (one sock at a time on Magic Loop)
Start Date: December 15, 2005
Finish Date: December 18, 2005 (Gotta love that heavy worsted yarn for speedy completion of a project)
This yarn feels rough while knitting, but seems to soften up when washed. I knit a swatch and then washed and liked the way it turned out. Then after reading about washing millspun wool before using, I tried this, but didn't really like the way the yarn felt after washing--don't know if it had started to felt, or if I used too much Dawn. I think I'll just knit and then wash as I have in the past.
Dh has tried the socks on as I have knit them and he really liked that I made the leg longer (8" of ribbing). I already have some Tuffy on hold for another pair of socks for him--I'll likely start them the day after Christmas. He wore his wool/alpaca socks to the Skins game today--was all in a panic this morning when he couldn't find them. I had washed them yesterday, and they were drying on the kitchen table under the fan. Still can't get over how he loves these socks....and I made them! So cool!!!
My list is all ready for the work/chores/shopping that needs to be done between now and Friday. Whew!!! A little bit each day will make the load easier. Tomorrow is shopping first and foremost, then a few chores around the house. We have Christmas dinner with my folks on Friday evening, church and open house here on Christmas Eve, and of course, all the festivities of Christmas Day. Thank goodness the pressure of Christmas knitting is off!
Sharing the Wealth
A couple of the families we are friends with from church have daughters who knit. I was talking with the moms about knitting, in general, and socks, in particular, last night at a Christmas get-together. I said I'd teach the girls--and maybe even the moms--how to knit socks on the magic loop in January and February. Sounds like a fun thing to do in the dead of winter. This morning I took a huge bag of yarn to one of the girls to do with what she wills. It's Plymoth Encore, which I now dislike intensely due to horrible pilling on my preschooler's Wallaby. There was more than enough yarn for her to use for hats, socks (after our mid-winter lessons), sweaters, you name it. Plenty to fool around with, experiment with, learn with--and she won't have to spend a dime. Hope she has a ball with it!
New Year Planning
Now I can think about the fun knitting I want to do in the New Year and read some of the books that have been lanquishing beside the bed while I've been madly knitting for the last three weeks. I almost bought some Noro Kureyon (sp) today at the lys when I went in to pick up my 220 Aran Stitches and Fiber Trends Felted Clog pattern. I think I want to use the clogs as Christmas gifts for 2006 and will try to make them throughout the year rather than rushing to finish them all in the three weeks prior to Christmas Day. Also on tap for knitting in the New Year is the FLAK. I need to do the swatching for that prior to January 1--but have plenty of time. My yarn is already here, so I may work on that in spare moments over the next week or so. I also hope to make the Crossed in Translation cardigan with the KAL that is supposed to start January 1. I know what yarn I want to use, but have not yet ordered it--money already received for Christmas from my in-laws will go to purchase the yarn for this project. Another possible project is My Favorite Cardi-again as I want something other than a sweatshirt that I can throw on when in the house (we're keeping the therm set at 62 deg F to try and help with the power bill) or out and about running errands. I plan on having a pair of socks on the needles pretty much all the time. Now that I've learned the afterthought heels, socks are even more of a joy!
That's about it from here--the Redskins trounced the Cowboys, so all is right with the world! I'm gonna go read! See ya!
Saturday, December 17, 2005
Steph got me..... So here I go:
1. Your favorite holiday memory: From my childhood: After my great-grandfather died in 1970 my grandmother and great-grandmother would always spend the night with us on Christmas Eve . On Christmas morning one of us kids would ring a bell to wake everyone up VERY early. Then we'd open gifts and have a huge Christmas breakfast.
2. Your favorite holiday cookie or treat: Only one!?! Hmmmm....I'd guess molasses/gingerbread cookies since it's the only time I make them.
3. Where you will be over the holidays: Dec 23 Christmas dinner with my parents; Dec. 24 Christmas Eve service at church and then an Open House here; Dec. 25 home for gift opening and breakfast then to Va Beach for Christmas dinner and gift exchange with dh's parents and sister. Our kids will stay there for a few days while dh and I take a couple of days to ourselves at House Mountain Inn. We were there for our 20th anniversary this summer. Great place!
4. Your favorite holiday song or carol.: Silent Night, Angels We Have Heard on High, O Holy Night, White Christmas (Crosby version--is there any other?)
5. A special holiday tradition in your family: My parents and grandmother coming to our house Christmas morning for breakfast and to share the excitement with the kids :o) Then spending the rest of the day visiting with family.
That was pretty painless for my first time "It". April and Trek--tag--you're it!
Back to regularly scheduled Christmas knitting--2/3 of one sock left!!! I hope to finish before the weekend is out!
Posted by Jenny Raye at 12/17/2005 12:16:00 PM
Thursday, December 15, 2005
with Afterthought heels!!!!! Last night I finished my mom's Christmas socks. First, the details:
Pattern: Not Cable by Sock Bug I didn't run the pattern down into the foot--just on the leg. Done two at a a time on one 40" circular needle. Figure 8 cast-on, stockinette foot, pattern for leg, Afterthought heel
Yarn: Lorna's Laces Shepherd Sport Seaside on size 3 circulars
Start Date: December 7, 2005
Finish Date: December 14, 2005
Now, why I am in love! If you've been reading my blog, you know that I just started knitting socks in November. This pair of socks makes my 4th. Up until this pair I had been struggling with short row heels; they were the bane of my existence as a sock knitter. Then Afterthought heels were mentioned on the Socknitters yahoogroup, and I set off in search of information. After much reading and contemplating I knew what to do.
I knit the socks to 7.5 inches (foot length is 9.75 in, so I subtracted 2.25 for the heel after reading the Keyboard Biologist Knits, and her thoughts on foot length. She was bang on with subtracting a shade more than 2 inches from foot length before starting the heel.) Then knit in two rows of waste yarn on the heel needle stitches (half of total), restarted with the main color, and kept on going! Last night was the moment of truth. I ran my size 1s into the stitches on either side of the waste yarn and then cut the waste yarn down the middle. All the stitches were nicely astride their needles--I didn't drop a one! Using the size 1s made the stitches easier to pickup, so then it was necessary to get the stitches back onto my 3s. I picked up the yarn and knit to the first gap--picked up three stitches--knit around to the second gap and picked up another 3 stitches. I now had 58 on my needles. Then I went to Dawn Brocco's site for help on the decreases. I found I needed a multiple of 6 for the decreases--so I knit a round and decreased 4 evenly. After that I knit 3 rounds plain and then started the decrease round--knit 7, k2tog around. Knit 3 rounds plain. Knit 6, k2tog around. Three rounds plain. Knit 5, k2tog, and so on until I had around half the original stitches. Then I decreased every round following the pattern set above (6 decrease points). When I got to six stitches remaining, I ran the yarn through the stitches, pulled it tight, wove the yarn in on the opposite side, and DONE! Well......done after I got all the cast-on/off yarn woven in. I love the look of this heel! It was easy--much easier than short rows. More attractive--NO holes! This will be my heel of choice from now on!
One more pair of Christmas socks to go!!! I'll be casting on tonight...................
Sunday, December 11, 2005
I shared this story with Socknitters, but wanted to post it here as well.
My dh and I just celebrated our 20th anniversary this summer. In the almost 10 years since I learned to knit I have knit him one, yes, one item. It was the very first thing I knit--a humungous, horrible monstrosity of a sweater. He wore it one time and stored it on the shelf in his closet. I have since frogged the beast and turned part of it into a lovely Farrow Rib scarf for my brother for Christmas. Due to dh's lack of appreciation for the craft of knitting and the wonderful handknit products, I have avoided making anything else for him. Until a month or so ago.
I had just learned to knit socks on the Magic Loop and was experimenting with making 2 at once. Over the last few months I had heard about the wonderful properties of alpaca and how warm it is. I knew I had some 50/50 wool and alpaca dk weight in the stash and thought I would try my hand at some socks--house socks--for dh because his feet are ALWAYS cold in the winter. If he didn't like them--nothing lost--knit from "free" yarn, and it was a learning process for me. Besides, I could always wear them :o) Since I finished them, he has worn them every night. I hand wash (not everyday) them while he's a work and put them on his nightstand so they are ready for him when he gets home. He hasn't really verbally said anything about them, but I knew he liked them because he kept wearing them.
So, yesterday he had agreed to help a friend raise a barn. It's been cold here in central VA--the friend still has a couple of inches of snow on the ground from last week, and he was dreading the cold feet--everything else stays warm. I told him to put on the socks I made. He dutifully sat on the steps, pulled off his boots, and pulled on the handknits after abandoning the cotton athletic socks. He was gone 7-8 hours and when he got home the first thing he said to me was how great his wife was to make him handknit socks that kept his feet warm even in the snow! Talk about warming my heart!!! But then....that's not all.....he said...."Can you make the next pair a little higher?" Next pair?!?! Next pair, he wants me to make him more socks!!!! Yippeee!!! "Hon," said I, "I just got four skeins of Tuffy sock yarn in the mail--gray and cocoa, which color do you want?" The other will go to my dad. He picked the cocoa!!! A convert!!! Hurrah!!! Just thought I'd share my little victory!
Saturday, December 10, 2005
After finishing Dainty Bess on Thursday, I quickly cast on the socks for my mom for Christmas. I have been lamenting my lack of skill with short row heels, trying several different methods, none really superior to the others. They all seem to leave holes of some sort. This morning on Socknitters I read a message from Nancy concerning afterthought heels. I had to learn more, so zipped off a note to her asking for details. Meanwhile, I cruised the 'net in search of information on the technique. I found several resources, including one Nancy just sent me. They are: Dawn Brocco's take on afterthought heels, a tip on the Socknitter's website by Jill Schaefer, a very helpful post on the blog of the Keyboard Biologist Knits, and some helpful tips on grafting that can be used for the heel, if one decides not to use Dawn's method. I was thrilled to see Nancy's message today and after much reading I will be using the afterthought heel on my latest pair of socks! I'm not dreading the heels now, which have been until now the only downside of knitting socks for me. Thanks so much Nancy, and everyone who wrote the tips I mentioned above!
My first attempt at true lace knitting is finished and blocking as I type. I am very pleased! She was an interesting knit and definitely held my attention. Through this project I learned quite a few things~~the absolute necessity of lifelines (thanks Lanie, they saved me at least once!), the importance of patience and careful attention (without these those lifelines would have been even more important!), and the thrill of watching a fine pattern unfold, to name just a few. I've worked cable patterns in worsted+ yarn in the past and have always been enthralled with the process of watching knit and purls turn into an elaborate cable pattern. This time I got the same feeling as I watched the lace pattern emerge. This scarf will be a gift for my sister-in-law and will head for NYC next week. The details:
Pattern: Elizabeth I "Dainty Bess" by JoLene Treace purchased from KnitPicks
Yarn: Alpaca Cloud "Tidepool"
Needle: Size 1 Addi Turbo (I started with a 5 as suggested in the pattern, but went down to a 3 when it was too messy looking. Didn't like that either, so dropped to the 1. I made this decision without blocking a swatch. I even noted in my knitting journal that I may regret that omission. I think it looks good--we'll see when it's dry.)
Finished length (unblocked): approx. 44 in (I did not use all the yarn, time was getting short and I felt the scarf was long enough)
Finished size (blocked): 7" x 60"
Start date: November 17, 2005
Finish date: December 8, 2005
For the blocking I was in quite a quandry as to what to use for wires. I had read online something about welding rods, but didn't know where to get them. I knew that floral wire would be too flimsy, so I headed to Walmart in search of something that would suffice. In the craft section I found a heavier weight wire that did the job adequately--sure, it's not totally straight, but once I put the pins into the board, it did fine.
Wednesday, December 07, 2005
Monday, December 05, 2005
Yarn: Lorna's Laces Shepherd Sock Black Watch
Gauge: 7 st per inch on Addi Turbo 1 done two at a time on 40# circ using Magic Loop method. Gotta love that!
Pattern: Figure 8-cast on, stockinette stitch foot, wrapped short row heels, waffle stitch leg.
Start date: November 20, 2005
Complete date: December 3, 2005
The first go round I only knit the foot length at 6.5 inches, did the the short row heels, and had dd try on the socks as her foot is closer to the size of my grandmother's than is mine. Too short!!!! Ugh! Had to rip all that heel work out. So increased the foot length to 7 inches and redid the heels. Had terrible trouble with the short row heels this time. On the last pair of socks they did great--no holes whatsoever! These were full of holes! I ripped it back yet again and tried them again. They were better, but still holey. I wonder if the smaller yarn shows the holes more than the dk weight I used on dh's socks? When I finally finished the socks, I decided to do some experimenting yesterday with the different types of short row heels.
I tried a method I read about in the comments on this post of KnitFiend--forgetting to wrap or yarn over and just picking up a stitch where the gap is and knitting it with the next stitch. Didn't work too great. So then I tried the yarn over method explained on the same page. A little better, but still not wonderful. The next method I tried was Japanese short rows explained wonderfully by Nona. Of the three (four, counting wrapped short rows) this method seemed to be the best on my experimental swatch. Very small virtually unnoticeable holes. This is the method I will be trying on my next pair of socks--for my dad for Christmas. I have one more method to try, but I ran out of experimenting time. I really need to be working on my Christmas knitting!!!!
Speaking of Christmas knitting......or just Christmas......I have received money from my folks, as well as dh's and guess what I will be spending it on?!?!? Yarn!!! Yarn for the Follow the Leader KAL run by Janet Szabo. I will be using Briggs and Little Regal quoddy blue for this. I need to make my purchase from Claudia at Countrywool this week. Yarn for the Crossed in Translation KAL run by Cara (its home is yet to be set up). For this sweater--see picture in my previous entry--I plan on using the Briggs and Little Regal Red BWO. I will hold off on ordering this until I get the pattern book and can see what type of yarn it was knit in. And yarn for the My Favorite Cardi-again at Black Water Abbey. I haven't decided on a color for this yet--although I am leaning toward the BWA moss, navy or bracken. Hmmmm.......any thoughts?
This morning I awoke to rain.....mixed with SNOW!!!! Snow on December 5th in east/central Virginia!!! Hard to believe. Granted, it's mixed with rain, the snow comes and goes, but it sure is pretty falling from the sky. I think I'll curl up in the window seat and cast-on those socks. I pulled my ARAN out of the closet and am all warm and snuggly.