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"Knitting is very conducive to thought. It is nice to knit a while, put down the needles, write a while,
then take up the sock again." - Dorothy Day

Quill Lace

Look at that; two finished pairs in one week!

Again, a few more pictures here.

Incidentally, sorry if those of you with blog readers had some issues this morning. For some reason, every time I tried to insert a picture this entry would magically post. Not sure why, but the extra editing might have caused multiple entries. Blogger is fun!

Pattern: Quill Lace by , again from Knitty. This is a really nice, simple stitch pattern. The end result looks more difficult than it is (impress your friends!). It's cuff down with a heel flap; I haven't done this in ages. I forgot how easy it is! The fit is also pretty incredible. I was so worried about running out of yarn that I did a short cuff; only 4" before I started the heel flap. In retrospect, I could have added at least one, maybe two inches. But these are a lighter weight, summery sock, so the shorter length is OK by me.

Yarn and Needles: Tofutsies, 50% superwash wool, 25% Soysilk, 22.5% cotton, 2.5% chitin. One ball of color 737, Footsteps, with plenty left over. I added reinforcement (Wooly Nylon) to the toe and heel. The yarn is much thinner than most sock yarns, so I knit on size 00 aluminum DPN's. I actually started on 000's, which I preferred on the stockinette portions. I just couldn't work the pattern stitch at that gauge though, so I went up one needle size. It took me a long time to warm up to this yarn, I think just because it's so different. It really doesn't feel wooly at all, and I never would have guessed it's half wool. It's light like cotton, and the Soysilk really does give it a very smooth feel. There's also some strange combinations of pooling and striping going on. When I first noticed it I though it would really, really bother me, but it doesn't. I'm not sure if that's because the pattern stitch draws your eye away from it, or because the color is so subtle it doesn't pop out at me. Either way, now that I'm done, I love it. It looks like a yarn that will split a lot, but it doesn't, even after repeated, endless frogging and reknitting. It's very, very easy to work with once you get used to the smaller gauge. I'm not a big fan of their bright pastel colorways, but they seem to be adding some darker colors for fall, so I imagine I will pick some up. Highly, highly recommended for summer socks.

Mods: My gauge was tighter than the pattern called for, so I cast on 84 stitches instead of the 60 called for by the pattern. This barely fits; I have to tug a little to get it over my heel. I like socks tight though, and the pattern really looks best when it's stretched out. I also added one row of K1, P1 ribbing a the top in an effort to make the top edge stop curling. It helped a bit, but it does still curl somewhat when laid flat. On the foot though, it's fine, and I probably needn't have bothered.

If I Could Do It Over: I don't think I would change anything. I don't even think I would have added length to the cuff. These were a fantastic commuting project, since the pattern is so easily memorized, and they were very soothing knitting.

Funny KIP Story: When I was first starting this, I pulled it out of my bag on the subway. I woman sitting near me gave me a look of complete and utter horror. I smiled, and she asked, very cautiously "What are you making?". I said socks. She practically collapsed in relief, and said, "Oh I was so worried that was a sleeve, and you were going to make a whole sweater out of that thin yarn!" Heh. That could kill the strongest soul.



I never mentioned that I made friends with Baudelaire again. I re-started them last weekend, and finished them today. The second sock went smoothly, thank you very much.

There are a couple more pictures here.

Pattern: Baudelaire, by Cookie A., from Knitty. My gauge was tighter than called for in the pattern, so I knit the largest size to compensate. After figuring it out the hard way, I used the alternate instructions for the larger instep. It's really a fantastic pattern. The stitch pattern is beautiful, the instructions are very clear, and the toe-up heel flap is a little something different.

Yarn and Needles: Patons Kroy Socks, 75% washable wool, 25% nylon. I've got ball bands for several different colors floating around, so I don't know which belongs to this yarn. We'll call it a dark heathered oatmeal. I used four size 0 bamboo DPN's.

Mods: I ended the foot halfway through the pattern repeat, but wanted to start the leg pattern at the beginning of the repeat. I added a few extra rows of pattern on the front, stockinette on the back after the heel turn.

It seemed like the cables were twisting toward the front of the foot on the pattern (this may have been me misreading) so I flipped them around to face the back.

Instead of doing 1x1 ribbing, I used an uneven ribbing that followed the pattern of the sock. This ended up being 2x2 for most of the sock, with some 1x1 around the cable.

I also made a weird mod right before the ribbing. The cables up the sides were 8 stitches wide, and I wanted to slim that down for the ribbing. I slipped the first 4 stitches of each cable to an extra needle and held them as if I were going to knit a cable. Instead, I knit together a stitch from the front needle and a stitch from the back needle. This decreased to 4 stitches for the ribbing. It still fits over the heel, and it keeps the ribbing nice and tight.

If I could do it over: The heel flap is written as plain stockinette, and I think I would prefer a slip-stitch heel for strength. But I love how these look, and they were really fun to knit. I would still love a pair in red, as pictured in the pattern. Of course, I have a pattern queue a mile long, so who knows if I'll ever get to it.


Take Two

Well, I got two votes on the poll, and both said rip and re-do. That's where I was leaning anyway, so the unpicking of the seams and unraveling will begin soon. Or maybe not so soon. We'll see how long it takes to get my strength up.

In the meantime, I picked up a little something to make myself feel better about the whole debacle. My MIL got me a lovely gift for my birthday; a gift certificate to my favorite LYS. Could there be any better gift? Could there be any better MIL? Of course, I spent the whole thing on sock yarn.

This might look familiar; it's the same color Regia Silk I used for the baby cardigan. I had one 50 gm skein left, so why not buy another and make some socks out of it? It's almost like spending money to save money. Or not, but that's what I'm telling myself. This yarn is so soft once it's washed; I can't wait to feel it on my feet!

Next up, some Louet Gems, in color Neptune, a beautiful denim-friendly light blue. This is a new yarn for me, and one I'm pretty excited about. I generally prefer sock yarn with nylon in it, but then I touched this. Delightfully squishy. It's got a nice tight twist, so I think it will be perfect for something cabled, or with a lot of stitch definition. I know Cookie A uses it for her solid socks, and there's no better recommendation than that. (If you don't know who Cookie is, click the link immediately. You will never see a better collection of sock patterns than that.)

This is my favorite of the bunch. Fleece Artist, a yarn I've heard raves about. They don't put color names or numbers on their ballbands (no two skeins are exactly alike) but I think this is their semi-solid Ivory. It's got lovely subtle beiges and greys along with the ivory and is a bit lighter and less yellow than the picture shows. I've got plans for this one; a sock pattern I've been working on for a long time that's been waiting for the right yarn to come along. I fully expected to buy some Lorna's Laces, but this colorway grabbed me at the store and wouldn't let me go.

I also managed to buy something that wasn't yarn; tickets to Stitch 'n Pitch! August 8th, Shea Stadium, Mets vs. Braves (which is always a good game). The seats are way up in the air, but hey, I'll be knitting! What an incredibly fun way to spend an evening.


Lunch Bag Anyone?

This is one of those times when I remind myself I like the knitting, not the sweaters.

If you recall, I thought the sleeveless sweater was maybe not so great. I thought maybe a wash would help. I am sometimes blind to the simplest math. Like this equation here: Linen + washing = soft & drapey. Not smaller. Softer. Drapier. Therefore bigger. I will admit that the hand is much nicer, but the sweater is not even close to fitting. First, click the link above and see how this is supposed to fit. Nice and snug. Know that I knit the smallest size, got gauge, and am a normal sized girl. Now, if you need a laugh, look at the pictures below. It's not pretty, people.

Yes, I took the pictures myself in a mirror. Art shots were not required here. Pretty awful, no? I look approximately 3 sizes bigger than I really am. The waist shaping appears nonexistent. The side seams are bulky and awful.

So yeah, I have a few choices here.

1. Shove it somewhere really inconvenient and forget it ever existed.
Pros: No more agony!
Cons: Admitting defeat is not a strong suit of mine.

2. Frog it and reknit it with smaller needles. I think I could also take out about 16 stitches, which would translate to about 4 inches.
Pros: This thing could be really, really cute if done correctly. I could knit in the round this time. I could lower the neckline. Also, the yarn is now softer, so it might be easier to work with.
Cons: Umm, reknitting an entire freaking sweater? And the yarn might be a splitty mess after the washing.

3. Frog it and use the yarn for something else entirely.
Pros: The sweet joy of destroying an object that offends me.
Cons: I have nothing else in the queue for this yarn, so it would go back in the stash. And again, the yarn could be splitty mess, as mentioned above.

4. Give it away to a woman who works with me. We will call her ample-bosomed, because I don't think I can say she has huge boobs on a blog. Oh wait, just did. Ha!
Pros: People might think I'm nice.
Cons: People will know better, and wonder why I'm giving away my unwanted crap.

5. Burn it. The whole freaking thing, pattern and all.
Pros: Again with the sweet release.
Cons: I'm pretty sure there are burning ordinances in the city. And burning yarn seems so very, very wrong.

6. I don't think there's a six, but there might be. If there is, tell me about it!

Please vote in the comments. I am very near making a decision which I think I might regret mightily. You will either reinforce it and eliminate the dread, or talk me out of it.


Progress Report

Just an update today, but I'll have some pictures for you next week.

Baudelaire and I still aren't speaking. I'll take her along with me this weekend, but no guarantees that she'll make it out of the knitting bag.

I took the second Quill Lace sock to knitting night with me yesterday, and made some progress. It's ready for it's heel turn, Mr. DeMille! I'll be working on that tonight.

The sleeveless sweater. Sigh. It's finished. The knitting is done, the seaming is done, the ends are woven. It is unwearable. It's bulky, the neckline is too high, and it's a little too loose. I'm hoping a wash and a block will fix it; it's mostly linen, so a good dunk may be just what it needs. If not, it will get thrown into a drawer, never to be seen again. Either way, you will see pictures of it next week; I won't get around to washing it until the weekend.

During my break from Baudelaire, I've cast on for the Bob Dobbs Sweater from Domiknitrix. This is going to be a "break" project. It's stockinette in the round, so it's not the most stimulating thing to work on. I'll use it for movie watching, or those times when complicated socks are wearing me down. Like now. Two hundred stitches worth of 1x1 rib feels strangely soothing. I also discovered a new (for me) cast-on. It's a simple tubular cast-on, perfect for 1x1 rib. I've worked the one that requires a provisional cast-on, a few rows of stockinette, then knitting the back needle to the front. It's lovely, but slow and annoying. This one starts with your working yarn, and involves a lot of quick hand twisting and grabbing yarn with your needle. It was a little hard to understand at first, but once I figured it out it was quick and easy. It is almost as clean looking as the provisional tubular cast-on, but in 1/4 the time!

The Christmas project is also progressing. I spent a soothing evening sorting colors, and figuring out how much I had of everything. I cast on the second ornament last night, this time in stripes! This will be temporary subway knitting, until I get the heel turned on the Quill Lace.

I tend to be pretty faithful to one home project and one travel project, but since I got back I've been flitting around from thing to thing. As such, I don't know what I'll end up working on this weekend; maybe lots of things.


So That's What Lifelines Are For

Baudelaire and I had a really nice vacation. We spent a lot of quality time together, and got along famously.

You may notice that there's a lifeline where the leg starts. Funny story about that...

The pattern has a separate set of directions for a large instep. I didn't think I needed to use them, but I decided to put a lifeline in anyway. I started knitting the leg with the regular directions. Then I sort of forgot about the lifeline, and why it was there. I got to what I thought might be the end of the leg, and thought I better try it on and decide if I needed another repeat.

Yes, that's right, I knit the entire leg before I tried it on. I don't know why. I do know (now) that I have a large instep.

Baudelaire and I are going to be taking a little break from each other for a while. Tonight, I'm casting on something new.

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The Christmas Project

Over the last few years, I've gotten a lot of oddballs of yarn from various family members. Some of it is probably well over 20 years old, but it's almost always in perfect shape. Somewhere along the way I got these.

It appears to be 2 skeins of variegated yarn, with matching solids. It's also a very thin fingering weight, unplied, in the scratchiest wool imaginable. I couldn't figure out what to do with it. I would never want it against my skin, so socks & mittens were out. Maybe something felted, but what?

One day while staring at it, I decided to wind them into balls. I unfurled a variegated skein, and found this.

See those little tags? It wasn't a variegated skein at all. Many, many short runs of color. In fact, each of the loops is two different colors, tied together at the ends. They're around 12 to 15 yards long each.

I have to assume it's some sort of sampler, but if any of you have any idea, let me know. I am flummoxed.

All these short lengths of yarn got me thinking about tiny things. And since I'm always thinking about knitting socks anyway, it ended up with tiny Christmas stocking ornaments.

I used a full length of both the red and white for this one. I want to do some in stripes, which I think will take 2 of the main color and one of the contrast. I've taken out the Christmassy colors.

(There is a lot. I've started putting colors together. If I only use each color once for a main color, and once for contrast, I can do about twelve. If I use all that I have, and just don't make the exact same sock twice, it will be in the dozens. If I do twelve, I'll give them as stocking stuffers (heh) this Christmas. If I do dozens, I can hang a bunch of them on my tree too. Hmmm...

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Knitting Mania

I was gripped this weekend; I wanted to knit everything, and all at once.

The first Tofutsies sock was nearly finished when I got home from work Friday. I couldn't just let it languish all weekend, so I finished it and cast on for the second.

This started a sock frenzy. I was getting antsy about the Baudelaire, so...

I told you I wouldn't be able to leave it alone. I worked two repeats of the chart, and made the other toe. That's on waste yarn; we wouldn't want to draw the attention of airport security with metal objects. So far I'm loving the pattern, but I managed to put it down.

That wasn't quite enough sock knitting, so I started on Christmas.

Tiny Christmas stocking ornament, shown with a (very shiny) quarter for scale. I finished this in an afternoon, then picked out a million other colors of yarn (more on that later) so I can work on one at a moments notice. No two will be alike, but I imagine they will all be this cute.

I also felt a strong urge to buy more sock yarn. To stop myself, I organized my sock stash. I paired up all the sock yarns I have with patterns I'll make them from.

Then I swatched a couple stitch patterns for BBMM's next pair of socks. I settled on Slip Stitch Rib, from Sensational Knitted Socks again. These will be my next pair of subway socks, so they'll have to wait a bit. Always be prepared, I say.

Finally the urge to finish the sweater hit me. It hit me hard; I may have bruises.

OK, no bruises, but my shoulders are a little achy.

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