Thursday, June 24, 2010

Sideways Socks

Traditionally socks are knit in a tube either from the cuff down or toe up.  Some people were clever enough to turn tradition on its head and figure out how to knit a sock from side to side; i.e. vertical striping on socks.  Intriguing.  Since this is sock month, I thought I would challenge myself by trying something new (to me).

Pattern: Sidewinders: a Perpensockular Pattern available for free on NonaKnits.

Yarn: Twinkle Toes by Chameleon Colorworks
50% Merino, 50% Tencel
1 skein (approx 320 yards) in colorway Ophelia

Needle size: US 2

The pattern is available as a sequence of blog entries complete with photos and bonus motivational pep talks.  It's comprehensive and well written (thanks, Nona!). I would suggest copy/pasting into a word processing document to make printing a heck of a lot easier.  Unless you like knitting in front of a computer.

I usually don't bother doing a gauge swatch for socks since I can just try'em on as I go and modify as needed (most sock patterns come in a limited range of sizes anyway so modifications are usually needed for a customized fit).  But this sock comes in 12! sizes and is knit in one piece flat.  And then grafted together in the back like a corset for your calves/ankles/feet.  So in this case, gauge does matter.

RS view: cuff is to the left/ toes to the right

Actually, the whole thing kind of reminds me of a flying squirrel.

WS view: a flying squirrel with a hoodie

The hoodie is where the toes go.

Grafting's a pain in the ass.  When done properly, it can be like knitting magic (no seam).  When done improperly, it just looks like a hot mess.   Trouble is, that it gets so rhythmic (knit off, purl on, purl off, knit on) that I lose track of where I am.  Apparently, there is a version of these socks that decreases the amount of grafting - maybe I'll have to try that at a later date.

Tuesday, June 22, 2010

Knitting Wimp Grows Up

I fear color knitting.  Intarsia, fair-isle - even the terms are kind of intimidating.  Pretty but scary.  shudder

So I've been kind of putting off the whole color knitting thing.  Later, I promise.  Well, it turns out that later has finally arrived.  It's time.  Deep breath.

My first foray in fair-isle.  Socks!

Pattern: Four Stitch Reticulated Patterns by Charlene Schurch, pattern 5 from her book Sensational Knitted Socks

Yarn: Creatively Dyed Sock Yarn (2/3 skein)
I got this as a destash so I'm not sure of the colorway; it's the magenta/pink/yellow variegated yarn
Knit Picks Risata in colorway Grass (2 skeins)

Needle size: US 2

I learned:

1. Loosen up on the tension.  I'm a "tight" knitter which usually works out just fine; I know I have to go up a needle size.  But with fair-isle, tension matters because if I pulled too tight, then the floats on the wrong side of the knitting were too short thus resulting in unsightly puckering.

Floats are those longish lengths of yarn that you carry along with the main yarn

2. Fair-isle is not very stretchy.  Again, those floats.  I discovered this when I switched from the ribbed cuff to the fair-isle pattern.  So I added a little calf-shaping to my socks.

3. Fair-isle is not that hard.  It's a great way to showcase variegated yarns.

After knitting the first sock, I realized that I had goofed on the sole pattern.  So I ended up with two different soles - who's going to see?

Well, besides you...

Tuesday, June 15, 2010

Monday, June 14, 2010

Knitting in Public

Apparently knitting is still considered a subversive art form in that some people find public knitting a notable event.  There's even a day devoted to this.  World-Wide Knit in Public Day.

 This weekend, a gaggle (pride, herd, murder?) of knitters congregated in the Boca Towne Center.  Sticks in air, yarn in hand, we were prepared to bring knitting awareness to the unwashed masses.  We're here and we're...handy with needles and yarn!

Knitters in the Wild

The Sock Guru made an appearance

Jan concentrating

Rebecca, Faith and Faith's mom



 Dina and Carolyn

The Chix with Stix drove down from the Treasure Coast
Notice the matching T-shirts

Mary, Michelle, Pam and Winnie


Pam showing us that knitting doesn't have to be a sedentary sport - free-range knitting!

Did the public take notice? 

Caryn talking to an inquisitive boy and his dad

This dude clearly just wanted to sit next to Kerrilyn - who doesn't?

I was a little late (alright, I got waylaid at Anthropologie) so I missed the encounter with the mall police.  They'd never heard of World-Wide Knit in Public Day and were quite suspicious at first.  We almost got shut down by the fuzz (mall cops on Segways, no less)!  But after a little explanation, all was well.

Happy Knit in Public Week - go ahead, kiss a knitter!

Wednesday, June 9, 2010

Gratuitous Puppy Photos

Bennan is now entering his 13th month of life.  He's full grown but still a puppy on the inside.  And a devilish one at that.  He's clever and mischievous, full of fight and canine attitude.   Secure in the knowledge that he's wormed his way into our hearts, he's now testing the limits.  He can be an absolute delight.  Lately though he's more monster.

But he's our delightful monster. No other creature inspires in me such fierce exasperation and aching affection.  I imagine most parents of young children know what I mean.  One moment he is tearing around shredding my unfinished crossword puzzles.  The next minute he looks like this:

Overheard at the dog park: "Honey, God makes them cute so you don't kill them when they're bad."

What, me worry?

Tuesday, June 8, 2010

Chewy and Bennan

Chewy's visiting from next door.  It's turned out to be a blessing since Bennan behaves a bit better with her around.  I think he fears and respects her, as well he should.  Despite this,  Bennan likes to pester her to try to get her to play.  Sometimes she humors him.

 First Bennan puppy bows.

Then Chewy.

Let the shenanigans begin.

 Bitch, I will cut you!

Have I shown you my meerkat impression?

Down for the count.

But wait...

Never mind.  You win.

 Sore loser demands a rematch right away.

Maybe after a nice nap.

Friday, June 4, 2010

June is SOCK month

Kerrilyn, the Sock Guru has spoken.  So to kick things off, I present a pair of socks I made in May.  They're a birthday gift for my pal John (maybe someday he'll even model them for me).  Right now it's too darn hot to be wearing socks.*

Pattern: Boot Socks by the KnitPicks Design Team (free!)

Yarn: KnitPicks Swish Worsted (100% superwash merino; 110 yards per ball)
1 ball in Truffle
2 balls in Coast Grey

Needles: US 6

This is a manly sock.  Thick yarn, thick needles and good solid man colors.  Very straightforward.  The perfect sock on which to learn a new technique.  Both socks were knit at the same time on two circular needles.  The pattern spells it all out for you and I'd certainly recommend it to anyone who wanted to try two-at-a-time sock knitting. A nice trick to have in one's knitting arsenal.

*Despite the muggy heat, John tells me he gets almost daily use out of them - while watching TV, he likes to put his feet up on the coffee table.  His wife Pat objects but will allow this little breach of etiquette as long as he is wearing these socks.  Crisis averted.  Marital strife defused.  You're welcome, John.

Next up: Fair-Isle Socks!  Stay tuned...