Wednesday, July 28, 2010

Free Pattern! (that is, until August 16th)

I love free patterns.  When I saw this one, I knew I had to share.  Okmin Park's Every Way Wrap from Interweave Knits Fall 2009 is now available for free download until August 16 as part of an online knitalong

It makes a beautiful finished project and is perfect for gift- knitting. Maybe you remember I made one this past winter for Mrs. Truong.  I highly recommend this pattern for anyone who wants to try reversible cabling.  Click here for more pictures of this lovely garment. If you are using the pattern from the magazine, click here for the corrected chart symbols.  Although after briefly scanning the free pdf, it looks like they corrected this.

So go ahead, get yer free copy while it lasts!

Friday, July 23, 2010

Green Markets

This past winter, Yarn Widower discovered the beloved Floridian holiday tradition of taunting our snowbound Northern friends.  Whenever he saw that there was yet another snowstorm preparing to dump onto the Northeast, he would call up his brother-in-law and complain obnoxiously that it was so cold here that he was forced to wear a light jacket outside.  "I can't believe it!  It's 65 degrees.  I'm freezing!"

My first spring in Florida, I gaily planted herbs and veggies only to watch them wither in the unforgiving heat of Florida's warmer months.  I learned the hard way that the growing season here is backwards.  Unlike the North, it starts in October when the nights finally start to cool off and lasts until early April when everyone is chased back indoors into air conditioning.  Of course this makes perfect sense.  Why else do the snowbirds migrate here but for the balmy winters? 

It's July now.  It's hot here (as it is in many parts of the country).  Iced tea, beach trips and juicy slabs of cold watermelon.  Yeah, we got all that.  But here's what we don't have right now that I really really miss about Northern summers - Farmer's Markets.  Here, they're all closed for the summer.  It's the off season. I have to make do with fruit from California and pictures of the West Palm Beach Green Market I took back in January.


A happy customer

My favorite veggie stand Stephens Produce

Wednesday, July 7, 2010

Malabrigo Monkeys

In the knitting world, there are some patterns that every self-respecting knitter knows by name: Clapotis, Fetching, Koolhaas, Swallowtail, etc.

Cookie A's sock pattern Monkey definitely falls into this category.  There are no monkeys to be found anywhere on these socks.  Apparently, they are so named because the designer was so obsessed that she wrote down the pattern just to get the monkey off her back.  Or something like that.

Pattern: Los Monos Locos by Jennifer O'Sullivan
an offshoot of the original pattern (think of fan fiction) that revises the sock to be knit toe up. Crazy!

Yarn: Malabrigo Sock (100% merino)
Colorway: Ochre
440 yards/skein (I used almost the entire skein for these mid-calf length socks)

Needles: US 1
I originally started with US2's but I wanted a tighter than normal gauge to ensure that these would wear well.

First off, I love this yarn.  It knits so beautifully.  Soft yet sturdy.  And the color is the most gorgeous earthy yellow.  I need more of it.  And yes, the pattern is obsession-worthy.  Once I had memorized the lace pattern, I found it intoxicating and hard to put down.

The heel construction was interesting.  There's short rows but no need to pick up stitches.  I've always thought short rows were kind of magical in a heel.  Not having to pick up stitches, that's earth-shattering.  Woo-hoo! 

But my favorite thing about the heel is the slipped stitch pattern called "Eye of Partridge." It's pretty.

Eye of Partridge:

Row 1: *sl 1, k1*, repeat
Row 2: knit all stitches if knitting in the round, purl if knitting back and forth
Row 3:* k1, sl 1*, repeat
Row 4: knit all stitches if knitting in the round, purl if knitting back and forth

Initially, I had some problems with it - there was a lot of ripping back because I kept getting the rows mixed up.  It's hard to tell visually whether or not I was supposed to slip the first stitch or knit it.  So I linked two of my stitch markers together (orange meant slip the first stitch of the row and green meant knit the first stitch) and just toggled the stitch markers when I slipped it for the all knit row.

Thus ends my little sock knitting adventure.  Three socks in June, spilled over a bit into July. Now it's Christmas in July.  Except I don't like to knit Christmas gifts - too much stress for a holiday I don't really celebrate anyway.  So I'll just knit birthday gifts instead... Besides, Yarn Widower's been asking for a pair of socks.