Wednesday, April 16, 2014

month o' socks: a frog, and a finish

Have you had this problem before? Really loose purl stitches coming right off a column of stockinette in your ribbing? This is the reason why this pair of socks languished in my abandoned WIP pile since Christmas last year ... I know I've made ribbed socks before without a problem, so I'm still a little perplexed about this. Any tips? Since I was frustrated, this sock was frogged. In the meantime, I cast on and completed a new, plain vanilla sock using the remainder of the skein. See that ball of yarn on the right below? That's the original frogged sock! So now I know, I can officially finish three single socks from one skein of String Theory Colorworks Continuum sock yarn, which is good to know. This is the Lanatum colorway, which reminds me of watermelons. And spring!

Monday, April 14, 2014

month 'o socks: finish #1

It's official: the mardi gras socks are done! I'm pretty excited, as I realized when looking at my Ravelry project page that these are the first pair I've completed in two years. Yes, you read that right: TWO YEARS. Yikes. I won't admit how many single socks have been cast on and subsequently abandoned during that time frame ... it's not that I haven't wanted to knit socks. I would start and then dislike using dpn's or get frustrated by not liking the final fit of the finished first sock. But watch out now ... I'm on a roll!

Pattern: Ann Budd's 8-stitches-per-inch sock (cast on: 60 stitches)
Needles: size 1.5 (2.50 mm) Knit Picks Harmony's, 40" cable (magic loop)
Yarn: Magic and Moonshine Fiddi Diddi Wow Wow in Amazonista

Wednesday, April 9, 2014

socks: a love-hate relationship

Are you also in a knitting funk right now? I'm not sure what it is--I should track it to see if this is an annual occurrence, but I suspect it is. January is exciting, as it is a fresh year, a fresh start on new crafting goals and resolutions. And the whole, "I just survived my last-minute holiday gift knitting--time to cast on for me!" excitement that drives my knitting activity that month. Then February brought my Olympics-related knitting marathon. So by March I just lost my mojo, I felt spent. So I'm slowly coming back. Spring has emerged here, the sun is shining, and that's helped. But what's really sparking things around here right now is my newfound excitement over sock knitting.

I've had a love-hate relationship with socks. Either I really enjoy making them, and then are disappointed by the fit and then swear off making something I'll never wear .... or I've started a pair to find that I hate the feel of the needles, and quit knitting after finishing one sock since it's just not enjoyable. It's been two years since I actually finished a pair of socks, so that shows how deep this divide goes. Part of the problem is I normally don't wear socks, and tend to go barefoot. And when I do wear socks, they are snug fitting anklet running socks. So when I knit up my socks, they just weren't snug enough and I wasn't used to feeling something slouchy on my calves. But something revolutionary (for me) has happened during this two-year sock void .... I learned magic loop! And the minute I did, I realized .... hey, I might not hate making socks anymore! So in the past few weeks I've been testing this theory by casting on for socks again. This time I'm making some key changes based on the recommendations of my master sock knitting Mom and Grandma: smaller size needles (previously I always used U.S. size 2s, which are humongous in the realm of sock knitting) and casting on less stitches. Most of my patterns called for a 64 or 70 cast on before. So I've switched to 1.5 (2.50 mm) needles and a 60 stitch cast on. Success! I love knitting with magic loop, and so far the fit when I've tried these on feels sooo much better. So this month I'm devoting to the sock. I plan on trying another pair with size 1 needles (2.25 mm) next to see what I like best. I'm not so sure I'm up to knitting socks on size 0s yet, although I know many expert sock knitters who swear by the smallest needles sizes!

Yarn: Magic and Moonshine Fiddi Widdi Wow Wow in Amazonista

Wednesday, March 19, 2014

smoky mountain blues

We're still getting back into the swing of things after a quick spring break trip to Chattanooga, Tennessee and the Smoky Mountain National Park. Our trip was fantastic--seriously, fun! We saw Rock City, traversed a cave to see Ruby Falls, enjoyed an epic aquarium (umm, so far the best aquarium I've been to ever, even better than the Atlanta aquarium!), pretended to be pioneers in Cade's Cove in the Smoky Mountain National Park and after walking about 10 feet on the Appalachian Trail capped off our trip with a visit to the also epic Biltmore estate in Asheville, NC. So while the sights were amazing, my knitting ...not so much.

This was my second try at the Betula Ring cowl pattern. This time, I actually used a bulky yarn as called for. The actual knitting was fun, the fit turned out great ... but again, the pesky rolling at the neck portion of the stockinette section. Boo. I just realized I will never wear this as is, so it is already frogged. This yarn is a leftover skein from my Montague Bulky Lace vest, and I love this colorway too much to not use it. Not sure if this pattern will get a third try from me, but if it does, I'll be using super bulky yarn next time! So sad, as I really love the ingenious design.

Pattern: Betula Ring (link to my Ravelry project page)
Yarn: Malabrigo Mecha in the Whale's Road Colorway
Needles: Size 10
Mods: None! Knit pattern exactly as written this time.

Monday, March 17, 2014

baby knits!

I love knitting for babies. So fast. So cute! I whipped up these two projects over the last week or so, and are headed off to one of my expecting knitting friends. Long-time readers might recognize the hat pattern, it's Luuk, a free pattern I made as a charity knit about this time last year. This is the first wool soaker I've ever made--this one is knit flat and seamed. A fun, easy, and relaxing knit!

Pattern: Luuk, newborn size (link to Ravelry project page)
Needles: Size 8's
Yarn: Lion Brand Amazing (colorway: Mauna Loa, but I manipulated it by skipping the ugly bits for the more girlish purple sections)
Mods: None! Used the small bobble instructions. 

Pattern: Adaptation (a freebie! link to Ravelry project page)
Needles: Size 5s for ribbing, Size 7s for garter
Yarn: Cascade 220 (used approx. 1/3 of a skein)
Mods: None! Will be adding this to my regular baby gift-knitting repertoire!

Friday, March 14, 2014

cowgirl cowl

The only reason I've been so quiet lately is that I've been working on secret projects behind the scenes ... that, and a bit of letdown after all the Olympics-knitting productivity! My swap partner has received this project, so now I can reveal it! Knitting with this yarn stumped me at first ... it's hard to tell from this picture, but the yarn has a purple base that is spun with a black accent. I tried two different cowl patterns before settling on this one ... and I love how it turned out! Really fun construction, and the lace is not bad (but one part of the pattern stumped me at first, where you start the decrease section ... tired brain to blame mostly! Somehow the way it was written did not compute until I read the whole pattern in line-by-line instruction). I also had serious doubts as I neared the end of the pattern--you basically are knitting what feels like a HUGE rectangle with a triangle tip. It just seemed way too big to look as fabulous as the pattern depicted. I was happily surprised to see otherwise once I cast off! The cowl is also surprisingly warm, despite being lace. I will definitely make this one again, for myself!

Pattern: Cowgirl Cowl by Pam Powers
Yarn: Blue Moon Fiber Arts Twisted (colorway: Tanzanite, used approx. 2/3 skein)
Needles: size 8 Knit Picks Harmony
Mods: Skipped the tassel at the bottom!

Friday, February 28, 2014

geek girl mitts

I technically finished these at the beginning of February, but wanted to wait until their recipient received them to maintain the surprise! These are hands down the most complicated cables I've ever done, and the most complicated cable charts I've ever read. And I did it! Super confidence booster! I now may actually go back and attempt some patterns I've admired but were too intimidated by the cabling! I totally love Colinette Jitterbug. I'm pretty sure this dye lot is abnormally pink--I've purchased a second skein in this colorway, and the purple variegated parts are much more pronounced. These pictures are close to color accurate ... so hard to take good pictures of shocking fuschia pink! :-D

Pattern: Geek Girl Fingerless Gloves free pattern! (Ravelry project page)
Yarn: Colinette Jitterbug (colorway: Alizarine)
Needles: size 2s, magic loop and dpn for thumbs
Mods: None! Fun, fast pattern!