Friday, July 29, 2005

Wee Hat

A wee hat to use up the leftovers from the chemo hat. For our friend's kid.

Doesn't our stuffed ottery friend look awesome in that wee hat?

Judson, Sr. and Olov looking cooler than ever!

Another hat!

To complement the large chemo hat, I've cast on a wee hat on a 16" circular using the leftovers. It's for my friend's 1-year-old son, so that they can match. It's small, so I hope to have it done by the end of the day. I also made double chocolate cherry cookies last night, so I will package both hats up with the cookies and mail them off.

The sock projects have been resting, meanwhile. About the argyles. I think I'm going to frog back to the lifeline I put in and re-chart the pattern so that it falls over a few less stitches. Since the sock will be straight-up stockinette in intarsia, I have this fear that it will be extremely baggy for my legs if I keep it at 64 stitches. I have really skinny legs, too, so I think it would be best to err on the smaller side.

Thursday, July 28, 2005

Chemo Hat

Knitted at the special request of a friend of mine who was diagnosed with leukemia. Made from Takhi Cotton Classic yarn, 100% mercerized cotton on size 7 dpns.

Olov, our pet harp seal, is a perfect model for the hat.

I'm not bad, either.


The socks are on hold now that I'm working on the chemo hat full time. I had to make a mad dash through the rain on Tuesday to acquire the yarn, but it was well worth it. It's 100% mercerized cotton, and it's really soft and fun to knit with. The hat itself is striped blue and white, and I'm almost to the decreases for the top. If there is enough yarn left over, I think I will knit his one-year-old a matching hat.

This morning, I grafted the toe on a sock that my wife just finished knitting for my foot. It's a really nice-looking, manly sock. Solid, self-striping yarn in deep blue hues, mostly, with a bit of brown and off-white. I've decided that I like solid stripes a whole lot better than stripes with speckly bits when it comes to self-striping yarn.

Tuesday, July 26, 2005

Looks Like a Good Day

Today is shaping up to be a good day. I started off the day with several birthday presents from my wife, one of which includes a Cape Breton CD of the Beatons. Excellent! Then I continued my day with a French Toast bagel with hazelnut cream cheese. Another plus is that the temperature is supposed to drop this afternoon due to a wind shift. Hooray!

I have also finished knitting up to the cuff again on the argyles and will drop a lifeline this time, just in case I decide to misplace the start of my squares again. I'm not looking forward to the starter row, but if I can get past that, I think I'll be set.

Today is also a good day to go to the yarn store and pick up 2 skeins of worsted weight mercerized cotton: one in navy blue and one in cream. A friend of mine was diagnosed with leukemia a few weeks ago and has been undergoing chemo. He requested a cap for his head, so knitting up a quick hat is the least I can do. If there is leftover, I will probably knit his little 1-year old a hat, too, just for fun.


I wouldn't recommend trying intarsia for the first time in a cramped spot on the train! It was particularly difficult because the color patterning effectively went like this for the first row:


This means that at every -*-, there were five strands of yarn to deal with: 2 ends and 3 working strands. All I can say is... argh!!

I actually was going along fine after I got past this row, but somehow realized that I put the start of my second square on stitch 50 instead of stitch 48. So I tried to frog and catch back to the all-knitted round right after the cuff, and that just didn't work. I don't really understand how to pick up ribbing, so I ended up frogging the whole thing and starting over. Oh well, it's all for the best. I can really breeze through k1p1 ribbing, so it will take me a half hour or so.

Monday, July 25, 2005

The Latest Project

I just cast on for the argyle socks this morning. I have to get 2" of cuff knit before I get to the intarsia part, but it sounds like it will be very interesting. The pattern is taken from Edie's Argyles on Socknitters, except that it will be worked over 64 stitches instead of 49, and it will be done as intarsia-in-the-round with a light seam running up the back of the leg.

There seem to be a lot of people who believe that intarsia-in-the-round isn't possible. I guess this isn't quite round knitting (at least in the traditional sense), since you're still going back and forth and merely connecting up the ends on each row, but it still produces a round object without having to seam it up afterwards. There is also the festive method of knitting, which is truly intarsia-in-the-round, but argyles don't lend themselves to this technique very well since there are large, distinct blocks of color you would have to carry the main color over.

Sunday, July 24, 2005

Many Thanks!

So, I posted my finished socks to the Socknitters e-mail list yesterday night, and I received a whopping 804 hits today from 274 visitors! I also received lots of nice comments and 13 requests for the pattern. The pattern is about halfway completed and coming along great, so I will get that off as soon as I can.

Thanks to everybody for being so appreciative! It's very encouraging for a newbie knitter like myself.

Saturday, July 23, 2005

Blah, it's hot

So I finished the thick, wintry entrelac socks just in time for it to reach 100 degrees tomorrow. I'm sure they'll get put to good use, eventually. I think that this project has spanned the longest amount of time yet for a sock... from early May to late July. I needed to put it down for awhile and work on some other things, so there was a lot of time spent knitting other things.

The next project will most likely be those wacky argyles in electric blue and burnt orange... in intarsia. I haven't done intarsia yet, but it looks like fun. It sounds like intarsia-in-the-round is either a love or hate thing. It shall be interesting. First, however, I need to drum up / make up a pattern that's going to work.

Entrelac Socks

Pattern: Class pattern with modifications
Needles: 2 24" Addi Turbos, 5 dpns
Yarn: 6 colors, various types
Special Technique: entrelac, stranded knitting
Started: May 11, 2005
Completed: July 23, 2005
Recipient: Me

The pattern for these socks is published in MenKnit Magazine.

These originally started from a class that I took at the local knit store. I bought the sock yarn from the shop at the time, plus I used up a few balls from the stash. It features six different yarns, mostly sport weight but a few that were fingering weight. I originally wanted to do more of a fall colored sock, but the yarn store's selections limited my color choice, so I had to settle. They feature my two-color eye-of-partridge heel unvention. The color scheme reverses itself on the opposing sock, so the socks don't quite match the way you would expect them to.

My sexy sock pose.

A closeup of the entrelac portion of the sock.

And a better shot of the heels.

And one of me standing on a very high stool (I was afraid my head might get chopped off from the ceiling fan). Note my fiddle in the background. My wife and I were having a few tunes earlier this evening.

Wednesday, July 20, 2005

Directions vs. Charts

I think I generally prefer charts to written-out directions. Charts show me a visual representation of what my end result should roughly look like. They also illustrate the relationship between rows, which I find very important to visualizing what I am doing. I have not yet had a need to use a row counter on socks, because I prefer to evaluate positional patterning when I pick up my knitting.

I actually find many large, written-out directions nerve-wracking. For instance, something like:
makes me count and double count each row to make sure I've placed it correctly. It would be much easier if I could look at a chart, figure out what I did on the previous row, and use that knowledge to place the current row's stitches. Directions make me feel like I'm constantly fumbling in the dark for the light switch but can't find it. Granted, I probably feel this way because I knit socks, which have often small patterns that repeat a whole bunch of times, and the pattern shifts are usually slight.

All of the patterns I've bought from Fiber Trends (okay... all 2 of them) are directions only, and, frankly it drives me bonkers. This is probably the main reason I have yet to finish my cabled and bobbled hat, something that could easily be put into a chart. The llama I also found annoying for this same reason, but I think something weird like that would be difficult to chart. Plus, you end up with a llama, so that makes it worth it!

Anyone want to share in their frustration or beg to differ?

Tuesday, July 19, 2005

Barter woes

The barter socks are proving to be extremely dull now that I've gotten to the foot. They are even duller than your average foot, because not only was there no gusset shaping to make some of the rows go by faster, but I'm doing 2 socks at once. I have to admit that the barter socks are kind of a disappointment. The "drunkenness" to the pattern is so subtle that it's barely noticeable, even with the large migrations to either side (8-stitch). I think the main problem is my use of self-striping yarn. All you see is this sort of color mish-mash and the ribbing variance seems hardly worth mentioning.

My mind needed a break from this nearly mindless knitting, so I thought I would aim to finish the second entrelac sock. I had several requests for the pattern after people saw the picture of it on my foot, so I will try to write that up when I get the chance. A lot of it was free form, made with the yarns I could find in the yarn store that were the right weight, plus whatever stranded pattern I felt like. I wouldn't repeat the color selection, either, but I had to work with what I had, and it wasn't a tragedy by any means.

I didn't get much knitting done this weekend. My mother was visiting over the extended weekend, and she thinks that it's impossible to simulatneously knit and listen attentively. So for the peace of the household, I generally refrained from knitting. Of course, the new Harry Potter book also came out, so I've invested quite a bit of time into that as well.

Thursday, July 14, 2005

Barter, barter, barter

Well, I've turned the heels and picked up the stitches on the barter sock. It turns out that the band heel has worked like a charm. I haven't tried on the socks yet to see how well they fit, but all of the stitch counts are correct and there are no gusset stitches to decrease out! I had to modify it a bit, as I started the heel on a purl row instead of a knit row. I did this because I wanted the center of the back of the heel to align to the cast-on point, and I find it's easier to start a heel flap on a purl row when you do this. This also meant that I got to use k2tog / ssp instead of SSK / p2tog, which I think is more symmetrical.

The band heel uses a Dutch heel, except slightly narrower than the traditional one. I'm wondering if there is a way to work a modified square heel instead of the Dutch and still come out with the correct number of stitches. I imagine it shouldn't be too difficult, but does involve sitting down and performing some math. I don't think I'd want to go with a rounder heel than a modified square heel, since the heel flap is pure stockinette and would probably be too baggy otherwise. Well, now that I know the rules, I can break them on the next sock! By the way, if you're not familiar with the various types of heels you can knit, check out the Knitting Geek's sampler and this should clear things up for you.

Knitting from both ends of the same skein has proved a lot easier than I first imagined. For some reason there is actually less twisting involved instead of more, probably because the ball is in a central location and is very easy to untwist. This method does have the disadvantage, however, of putting you in a pickle if you don't put your yarn ends in the correct spot each time. After I turned the heel, the one sock yarn was wrapped around in the center several times, and while there was probably a way to untangle it with successive rows, I just found it easier to slip the sock onto 2 dpns temporarily to take the tangle out. If you use 2 separate balls, you may get this problem but can fix it by unwinding the problem ball through the center, between the socks. That simply doesn't work with 1 ball, because you will tangle up the other sock if you try that.

Onto the foot!

Saturday, July 09, 2005

Barter Socks Update

Well, I've completed a pattern repeat of an 8-stitch ribbing offset, and here is what they look like thus far:

Note the texture close up and the meandering rib:

I'm liking these quite a bit. I'm thinking I may try out the band heel that supposedly works so well with self-striping yarn. I think these socks in particular should not have a gusset since the solid stripes are really quite thin. Anything larger than 72 stitches is going to produce an incomplete band of color around the sock.

Wednesday, July 06, 2005

Barter Socks started

Last night, I cast on both of what I am going to call the Barter Socks, since these will be the first socks knitted as a barter fulfillment. On the other end, I received a really nice footboard resonator for doing the French-Canadian foot thing (ticky-tack, ticky-tack) with my feet while I fiddle. In return, he gets a pair of socks.

They are going to be based on the Drunken Master Ribbing socks, except that I am adding a variation. The slant will go in opposing directions for the left and right socks. Who knows what kinds of inspirations I will get for the heel, foot, and toe?

I will take a picture once the drunkenness of the pattern becomes a bit more clear.

Sunday, July 03, 2005

A camera!

Okay... so the camera arrived while I was gone. I now have a few pictures to share with you.

Entrelac sock picture

Another entrelac sock picture