Wednesday, April 23, 2014

month o' socks: finish #2

They are done! Loving the fraternal twin thing with the stripe sequence on these socks! It's nice to cross this pair off my list of skeletons in my closet, too!

Pattern: 8-stitches-per-inch Socks by Ann Budd
Needles: size 2.50 mm 40" Knit Picks circulars
Yarn: String Theory Colorworks Continuum in "Lantana" (used .66 of one skein)

Sunday, April 20, 2014

dyeing yarn with easter egg dyes

Happy Easter! I don't know if this is going to become an Easter tradition for me, but I couldn't resist playing with the leftover Easter egg dye tablets we had lying around this weekend (just like last year!). What you see is my version of "rainbow" yarn for a crazy, bright sweater for my nearly five-year-old girl. I followed the classic color sequence of Roy G. Biv, plus a hot pink added to the mix. I used two boxes of PAAS "Neon" dye, plus the purple from good 'ol Kroger brand "neon" food coloring droplets (the same purple I used in my blue-purple mix last time), and two tablets of red dye from a traditional PAAS box. I learned last time that one dye tablet didn't go very far in dyeing a skein of sock yarn. So I honestly was a little nervous this time, as I needed to dye three skeins to have enough to make a sweater quantity! (this is Knit Picks Bare Superwash Merino in Bulky weight) So I followed my tutorial instructions, except I doubled up the dye tablets, taking the two boxes dye tablets and mixing two of each color together instead of separately. I used a tablespoon or so of vinegar to dissolve the two tablets, then added approximately 16 oz of water to the cup. Since I had eight colors for each rainbow skein, I was able to squeeze by and finish that third skein--but just barely! I am seriously loving how it is knitting up. Definitely neon! And definitely fun!

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!