Wednesday, January 31, 2007

show off your socks

I have been dreaming of some way to show off my hand knitted sox. I know that Regia makes clear lace-up boots and pull-on boots but only in kids sizes. Today, I did a little research and you can get clear clogs in adult sizes. I think they are so cool. I Googled the clogs and it seems that they're made by Sloggers (but not available through their website). I have 2 pairs of their clogs and pair of their booties and I love them. My green clogs are for gardening only. My red clogs are for non-gardening adventures. Is it too early to buy myself a birthday present? My birthday's in July.

Tuesday, January 30, 2007

Wheat socks

Also almost finished: a pair of birthday socks for one of my coworkers. I gave her a couple of choices of pattern and yarn, and she really loved the silk yarn, and the wheat pattern. (She was born on a prairie farmstead.)

Pattern: Kansas Harvest Socks, by Jeanie Townsend, available from the Townsend Socks yahoogroup.
Yarn: Regia Silk, which is so soft and yummy.
Mods: I added three extra sheaves of wheat down the front for a couple of repeats. I'm also doing this on smaller needles (Carol has very slender feet and ankles) so I picked up a few more rows on the heel flap than in the pattern.

Gotta love the Knitpicks needles. They're so pointy and easy to work with. This pair went so smoothly, especially when compared with Tony's socks.

Next up: two pairs for me! I had wanted to alternate a pair for someone else, then a pair for me this year, and so far all 4 pairs of finished socks have been for other people!

Sad sock story

Well, what do you think this is?

Another hint.

Yup, it's the beginning of a ripped sock. I'd finished the sock, and then Tony decided that the foot was too long. So I figured that I'd just rip back from the toe for a couple of inches, then work it back down again. And then I figured that if I only went back a couple more inches, then I'd hit the spot where the yarn had broken, and I could just re-join the new yarn there. Plus I hit a bunch of tangles while trying to rip the sock, so kept taking out one and a half rows at a time in some places.

I'm going to be glad when this pair of socks is done. Started sock #2 twice yesterday, and ripped it out both times. I was trying a new version of making a stitch, and I kept picking up the wrong stitch.

And then this morning, I hit some horrible traffic on the way to the SkyTrain, and spent almost two hours in traffic. So by the time I got to work, I'd almost hit the heel on the second sock. I'll probably turn the heel tomorrow, and then this pair will be hopefully be done and on Tony's feet by the weekend.

Take that!

I have defeated misplaced yo's, I have conquered errant k2tog's, I can get the sock over my heel, and it's not baggy around the ankles. So take that!

I feel good about finishing this sock. So good that I may start the second Wyvern instead of the second Tofutsies sock.

I have to admit that it's my first non-plain stockinette, non-allover ribbing, lace sock. I have learned several things about lace sock knitting - I cannot count (and no amount of post-it notes can help me), yo's seem to pop-up in all the wrong places, I cannot drop stitches/rows to the boo boo and reknit (I have to frog entire rows), lace patterned socks really don't have much stretch and getting one over your heel is trickier than usual. But the end result is sooooo worth it!

Here are the stats:
Yarn: Schaffhauser Wolle Soiree (vintage stuff from a destashing knitting friend of my quilting friend); 70% wool and 30% silk; originally an insipid yellow but dyed with lemon/lime KoolAid
Needles: 2.25mm steel dpns
Wyvern by Marnie MacLean
Mods: I knit the medium size for the foot and increased 8 stitches (between the columns of lace) right after the heel turn.
Tips: When I was ready for the heel turn, I knitted row 6 of the chart and then knitted the heel. The first round after the finished heel was a knit round (chart row 7) and then I started the chart on row 8 for the back of the leg which is the same row as the front. I did not want to keep track of two different chart rows (see previous paragraph about what I learned).

I think I'll work on Arwen tonite instead of sox. I got Grey's Anatomy Season 2 discs 5 & 6 in the mail so there's lots of knitting time tonite.

Monday, January 29, 2007

I won a blog contest!

I entered a blog contest over at ShadKitty Knitty's blog, and I won! The prize is a skein of Bunny Hop yarn. I think I'll turn it into mittens for Andrew, or a Fetching for me. Ooh, soft and pretty yarn is coming my way.

I think you should try to finish Arwen before the end of winter -- which is only a few more weeks away around here! It sure felt like spring was on its way on my commute home this afternoon, warm and sunny on the SkyTrain. Though I do like the Tofutsies. I can see why you wanted to work on those. How do they feel on your foot?

PS. Just a photo of the purple Araucania ... (Tony's off to buy himself a new road bike for that trip with Markus; I think I'm allowed to drool over some discount yarn!)

all about sox

Ok, I'm not looking... I really don't need more yarn (even if it's purple - stop tempting me). Seriously, between the knitting and the quilting, there's barely enough room for anything else in this house. If I add to my stashes, I will need to start throwing my clothes out.

You don't need a light box to take good pictures. I use a white sheet and a room that has good light. If it's a sunless day, I use a lamp with a full spectrum light bulb and turn the camera flash off.

Do you know what? Purple is the one KoolAid colour I don't have. There was a time when grape KoolAid was purple but the last time I used it, the yarn turned black. I was able to save the yarn by rinsing it out immediately but I haven't tried grape/purple since then.

So here's a picture of the Tofutsies sock.

I haven't cast on the second one yet. Instead, I've been working on the Wyvern sock. I started this sock ages ago and lost interest when I couldn't get the thing over my heel. I finally bit the bullet and figured out a solution. I increased 8 sts right after the heel turn and now it fits. I am a little worried that it'll be baggy around the ankle but I don't want to decrease and then increase again further up the leg. I don't think I'll make these socks very long. For some reason, this lace pattern is kicking my ass. I am constantly ripping back to fix a boo boo. I'm usually ok with lace but I'm not having much luck with it this time.

I really should get back to my Arwen. It is not seeing much knitting time. I don't even remember when I last worked on it. Sigh... There's just not enough hours in a day.

Don't look -- pretty yarn mentioned here

Oooh, Dotty, what a pretty dyeing job! And I love the colours in the photograph too. You're inspiring me to set up some kind of light box. Would purple work to get you any kind of good colour? I think that might come out as pinkish and yellow.

And don't look now, but Little Knits has Araucania Atacama (100% alpaca) on sale for $40/bag (10 skeins, 110 yards/skein). This is the colourway that grabbed at me, but there are lots of others, including a gorgeous purple one.

Sunday, January 28, 2007

mmmm KoolAid

I love dyeing yarn with KoolAid. It is easy and so much fun. I bought this not-a-nice-colour sock yarn on Friday knowing that I could change the colour when I got home. Enter Blue Moon Berry... Goodbye ugly yellow and hello greeny goodness.

It's my 6th or 7th dye job and I'm getting better at achieving the uneven colour. You need just enough water to cover the yarn but not too much otherwise, the dye will be too evenly distributed. And you shouldn't stir too much. You want a little bit of the original colour showing through. A few minutes in the microwave and voila! I can't wait to knit this up.

So what should I do with the remaining 2 balls of yarn? I've got lots of KoolAid.

I do not have a picture of the Tofutsies sock to show you. The fog did not lift before I left for work so there wasn't enough light for pictures. I'll try to take one tomorrow.

Saturday, January 27, 2007

Cool knitting tip

Found a neat knitting tip for making your own row counters -- especially useful if you're doing lace or cables. I particularly like the tip about putting the counter somewhere in the middle of your row so that you don't forget to do something with it. When I've used the normal row counters, they've gone at the end of my needles and I always forget to click them over to the next row.

The coke bottle quilt looks fabulous! I hope your brother in law enjoys it as much as he should!

And my mom told me that she used to knit socks, too. I don't know if she'll take it up again -- she's got too many other things to do, like take care of my kids.

I'm not going to do the dragon scarf anytime soon, because it won't be finished for a month, and then it'll be spring here. I think it'll be a good project for next fall.

red, coke, and blue

I think I've kept you in suspense long enough. Here's what all the fabric bits turned into. I don't think my brother-in-law reads this blog so I can post the picture and not spoil the surprise. It turned out a lot better than I expected. I mean what kind of fabric do you use with the Coca Cola? I think the mottled blue/grey worked out well. I am glad that I didn't try to use the french fries fabric that my sister gave me.

My Mom did very well constructing her first short row toe. She's got instructions to knit around and around and around until she's got 7" of foot. Then I'll head over and guide her through the heel construction.

I finished my first Tofutsies sock (feels great on my foot) and my KoolAid yarn has dried (looks awesome) but you'll have to wait for tomorrow's post to see pictures. I am unexpectedly working all day tomorrow so I need some easy blog fodder.

Friday, January 26, 2007

thrift store junkie

I love going to thrift stores. I collect vintage linen tablecloths and napkins. I love looking for quilting/knitting books and magazines. Today, I went to my local Value Village to drop off some things so I wandered around afterwards. I bought a book - "Cotton Projects: Pillows, Placemats, Comforters and Wonderful Applique Gifts" by Kumiko Kobayashi. It's got wonderful little bags and cute little things to make that are often found in Japanese craft books.

I also bought 4 balls of vintage sock yarn - the label says "Schaffhauser Wolle Perfina" and it's made in Switzerland. It's a hideous yellow colour but through the magic of Blue Moon Berry Kool-Aid, it's now a lovely green. I'll take pictures tomorrow when it's all dry and there's natural light.

G - I like the second dragon scarf over the first one. The second one has a nicer head/face. I don't think you should wait to make the scarf. I'll bet that if you make it for him, he won't drag it on the ground. And thanks for the Dressew hint. I've been thinking about going down there...

Here be dragons

The Tofutsies socks look really nice. I like the striping a lot. I've just got to finish a second sock for a colleague's birthday present, and then a second sock for Tony, and then I can do a couple of pairs for myself. If I can get a few pairs out of my stash, then I won't feel so bad about buying more sock yarn!

In the meantime, check this out:

It's a free pattern for a Fiery Dragon Scarf, from Fun Knits for Kids. That's definitely on my list of things to do for next fall/winter, for Andrew. (He's awful with scarves right now, but hopefully by next year he won't just drag them through the snow and puddles.)

And Dressew's got even more yarn at $1.99/ball now, including a ton of fun fur and cheap lion brand stuff. But machine-washable is definitely the way to go for a kid's scarf!

Thursday, January 25, 2007


I've worked on my Tofutsies sox ever since I cast on yesterday afternoon. I even took it with me to my weekly quilting gathering. I've knitted about an inch past the heel. But now I have to stop *sob*. My hand hurts and it's cramping up. But it's good TV nite - what am I going to do for the rest of the evening? I blame my hand on Grey's Anatomy Season 2. I got the DVDs this week and I've been watching and knitting (too much). Can you tell that I really like this yarn?

And I like my new Clover/Takumi bamboo needles. I had sworn never to use bamboo dpns again because of a bad experience. I bought a set of Crystal Palace dpns and halfway through the first sock, one of the tips split. I took them back to the store and exchanged them for another set. I finished the socks ok but when I started the next one, a chunk of bamboo was dangling from one of the needles on the next sock. It's not in the tip so I can fill it in with a little bit of glue/wax and sand it down. I think the problem is that the tips aren't sanded well and when the right tip rubs against the left needle, it's abrasive enough to do damage. The Clover/Takumi tips are a lot smoother and hopefully, they'll last long enough to finish the current sox.

Just before Christmas, I was visiting my parents and brought some sock knitting with me. My Mom - who taught me to knit & crochet - was fascinated by the short row heels & toes. So she whipped out some yarn and needles and I showed her how to do short rows. I talked to her today and she wants to knit her first sock. Yahoo! This is so cool. I am going over Saturday with some needles and sock yarn for her.

Ricky got into trouble today. I caught him chewing on a plant. He is such a bad cat.

Wednesday, January 24, 2007

Second Sox

I finished these socks today. They are my second pair of sox for 2007. I got the yarn for Christmas from my father-in-law.

Yarn: KnitPicks Memories in Rocky Mountain Dusk
Needles: 2.25mm steel dpns
Pattern: Wendy's generic toe-up socks

I like these socks. The yarn knit up very nicely and the resulting fabric is very firm. I really like the narrow stripes. I may need to order more of this yarn in other colours.

I immediately cast on another sock with the Tofutsies yarn. That yarn is sooo slippery. I had to let got of a needle to sneeze and the needle fell out of the sock. Not good. So at Knit Nite tonite, I bought some sticky bamboo dpns and things are going much better.

There were lots of people at Knit Nite. E is working on the Equestrian Blazer from the Winter 2006 issue of IK. She's using Cascade 220 in a gorgeous dark teal. There were lots of socks being knitted. And lots of yarn being purchased. Everyone had a good time.

See Eunny Knit

I've already drooled over Eunny's delicious entrelac socks via her blog. I was wondering if she was going to put the pattern up there, but I'm just as happy that it's available in a magazine.

Like another blogger I read today, I'm wondering how the back-side bumps will feel -- when you pick up the stitches in entrelac, there's quite a difference in texture.

I'm also super-tempted by Eunny's Bayerische socks. This one's a free pattern. Looks complicated and fun to knit. I'm just not sure I've got the attention span for them.

Tuesday, January 23, 2007

IK Spring 2007 preview

The preview's up and there are some lovely things. I like the Indigo Ripples Skirt by Kat Coyle, Clementine Shawlette by Michele Rose Orne, and Roza's socks by Grumperina (there's a better picture on her blog). There might be some other things that I like but it's hard to tell from the small pictures. Hubby gave me an IK subscription for Christmas so I'll be getting this issue in the mail. I can't wait.

G - you might want to borrow the magazine. There's a pattern for Entrelac Socks by Eunny Jang. I know how much you like entrelac.

Thanks for the Excel/knitting chart link. I never thought of using Excel that way. I don't have enough knitting mojo to design my own stuff. I'll stick to designing my own quilts.

No time for knitting today. I had to work and our chimney is leaking water again (we spent over $3000 last year to stop the leaks). And I just caught Ricky walking out of the fireplace and his paws are all covered in wet black yuck. I just wiped him down - something that he doesn't like. Serves him right for going somewhere he shouldn't go.

blankets galore

A totally link heavy post coming up

I was reading a back issue of Yarnival, and found the randomized log cabin blanket. And then from there, followed a link to tikkupeitto's blog, and her amazing 107 blankets.

Sorry for the dark photo ... these are my last two entrelac baby blankets. I originally took the photo to send to my brother, so that he could choose the colours he wanted for his baby. He went for the dark blue and white, and baby's now 7 months old.

Monday, January 22, 2007

Techies who knit — or is that knitters who tech?

Hey Dotty, check out Fleegle's blog for knitting software reviews and tips for charting using software you already have, like Excel.

And what can I say about that Dragone Shawl that she's working on? Wow, it's amazing. And I think you actually have to knit in two layers, one on top of the lace.

I think I'll stick with something easy like a Dragon Scarf. I'm hoping to do this project for Andrew next year, or maybe the year after, when he'll actually be able to wear a scarf without dragging it through puddles.

Just daydreaming of future projects while trundling along on my Regia silk socks. One sock almost completed — just an inch or two more, then kitchener the toes. Then start the next sock before I forget the mods I did to the pattern. Photos to come in a few days when I finish the pair.

all the sugar, twice the caffeine but none of the buzz

For an Arwen update and pictures, check out my post to the Arwen KAL.

Today was a quilting day for me. I dragged out the fabric that I've been storing for the last 6 months and got started.

My brother-in-law, Roger loves Coca Cola and hockey (in that order). It is incredibly hard to find Coke fabric (in Canada) but I spotted these two during a trip to W*lm*rt. I bought the blue/grey to use as an accent. The hockey fabric will go on the back of the quilt. Can you tell what I'll do with these pieces?

Sunday, January 21, 2007

A good weekend

I was so tired yesterday night. I brought knitting to the dinner but I didn't knit a stitch. When I got home, I rolled into bed, and was asleep before hubby finished brushing his teeth.

I went out shopping at Thread Bear earlier that day - a very nice quilt store. They were having a big sale on a lot of stuff that I needed for a class that I'm taking at Quilters' Haven. I also picked up some perfect sky fabric, a FQ of vintage bicycles (to be a hankie for my hubby), and a FQ of Japanese flip flops. After shopping, we stopped at the tea shop (on the floor below) for some lunch.

Today, I knitted Arwen all day. Well, except for the time I spent food shopping, cooking the food, and eating the food. I made excellent progress. I reached the top of the left shoulder and I'm knitting the back of the left sleeve while the rest of the stitches are on a holder. It's too late (& I'm too tired) to take pictures so I'll post a proper update tomorrow. I feel like I'm making faster progress now that I'm not knitting 169 stitch rows and cabling like mad at each end.

Although, I don't have knitting pictures. I do have a cat picture. This is Phoebe and she loves lying in hubby's lap.

PS. I am ignoring the lure of the Viking books. But I am petting the cashmere sock yarn.

Viking Knits

That was a fun get-together last night. I've got to get out to a Knit night with you sometime for some full-on knitting action.

And just to put some more temptation into your path, here are links for the Elsebeth Lavold books: Viking Patterns for Knitting, and the photos from the First Viking Knits Collection and the Second Viking Knits Collection.

Heh heh.

That's just my little bit of revenge for telling me about those amazing prices at Yarn by the Bag. I'm still processing the fact that you got the yarn the day after you ordered it. And the Canadian $$ at par -- what a deal.

Friday, January 19, 2007

Addicted to Arwen

Great socks, G! I can't wait to see them in person tomorrow. I admire your stamina/willingness to knit knee socks. Would knitting sox for Markus' size 13 feet be comparable?

I'm working on Arwen all the time except for a small break to knit plain stockinette sox yesterday night. Thursdays are good TV nights - Grey's Anatomy and CSI - two shows that can't be watched while knitting cables. I have finally started the sleeve. The left front hit the frog pond because the cast on row for the cable panel just looked wrong and stayed looking wrong for the 11" that I continued knitting. Oh well... I only lost one day of knitting.

I don't expect much progress on Arwen this weekend. It's a pretty busy weekend for social engagements. But I'll take some knitting with me in case there's time for a few rows while everyone else plays Munchkin.

I didn't take any cat pictures today so here's one from December. I had just seamed up the Sienna Cardigan for Anna and laid it out for a few portraits. Out of nowhere, Ricky jumps up on the bed and plops himself on it. What can I say? He likes handknits.

Thursday, January 18, 2007

Big socks, little socks

My first finished objects for 2007 — long knee socks for Grace, and teeny ankle socks for Megan, Grace's daughter. These are Grace's birthday gifts for last year. She came over for our New Year's Eve party on January 31, which was also her birthday, so I made her choose a yarn that she'd like for socks.

Yarn: Knitpicks Dancing (sold out colour)
Needles: Knitpicks 2
Cast on 52 stitches, increased to about 58 for some minor calf shaping
The yarn speckled nicely until I did the calf shaping, at which point it started to pool.

This was fun to do. The bright and cheerful colours got me through a couple of dreary snowstorm commutes.

Been there, won that

Do I need to join another KAL? Firstly, I've already won a prize from the Arwen KAL so that's used up all my luck for the year. Guess what my prize is - sock yarn. Secondly, I have quilts to make and many have a deadline so I need to cut back on my knitting and focus on fabric.

We hit the yarn jackpot today. Our yarn order (60 balls!) arrived this morning.

On the left are 2 bags of Marks & Kattens Dream in med blue and med grey. On the right is your order - Dream in plum and Idena Big Cotton in blue & mango. The grey and plum are quite heathery. I already swatched some grey and got gauge with the recommended needles. I think this'll be the yarn I'll use for the Nantucket Jacket from the cover of the current IK. I can't wait to start it after I finish Arwen.

I'll let you do the sock knitting for the both of us.

Sock a Month Knitalong

Hey Dots, wanna join the Sock a Month KAL?

There are possible prizes to be won. And besides, we're already doing at least a pair a month anyways!

Wednesday, January 17, 2007

First post

I went to knit nite at my lys tonite. While I've been away for Christmas holidays, they started stocking a new fancy schmancy sock yarn - TOFUtsies. Can you believe that it contains "fiber from shrimp and crab shells"? That's just crazy. I bought a skein of 723 Put Your Foot Down. It's got all the colours of the rainbow. I am itching to cast on for a sock right now. My friend and fellow knitter, G (she's going to be posting to this blog, too) has asked me to bring the yarn with me on Sat. so that she can 'fondle' it.

Cat picture of the day: Ricky's got the whole bed to sleep on but he chooses to squeeze his butt onto the neatly folded *clean* laundry. Yeesh.