Wednesday, October 31, 2007

Under the Socktoberfest Wire

If you have much, give of your wealth; if you have little, give of your heart. -Arab Proverb

The knitting around here may be all about colors these days, but the blogging still has two pairs of socks to catch up on. There's a secret pair of socks for that Christmas basket. . . And then there's a pair for me. I really intended these to be a gift, but the two skeins of handpainted yarns were dramatically different in value. It doesn't show up that well in these photos, but it's on par with what Colleen recently experienced. So now they're mine. Too bad . . .

Little Arrowhead Lace Socks Pattern: free Nancy Bush pattern available here!
Yarn: Artyarns Supermerino, took >2 skeins even for my tiny feet (US 6.5)
Needles: Brittany Birch US 3 dpns
Notes: Hated the yarn color difference. Otherwise, no modifications. Love this pattern. Have made it before, will make it again.
Best Thing About This Project: Socktoberfest fun - now I'm at pair #119 in lifetime sock knitting. Not to shabby, eh?

And speaking of the Christmas basket, I spent some time this weekend finalizing my Christmas list and wrapping all the Christmas presents I already have. My husband thinks I'm nuts. I think I'm prepared. What do you think?


Monday, October 29, 2007

Colors Colors Everywhere

Beauty seen is never lost, God's colors are all fast.
-John Greenleaf Whittier

Houston, we have a problem.These are, in no particular order of importance, the Baltic Mittens from Folk Mittens in Dale Heilo, the Fake Isle Hat from Magknits in Silk Garden and a random oddball, the Stained Glass Hat from Green Mountain Spinnery in Mountain Mohair, and the Ladybug Sweater from Dale of Norway in Baby Ull.

I couldn't help myself. Two FO posts on the hats coming soon. At least my November UFO nominated itself (the ladybug sweater, last seen in action an embarrassing 15 months ago).

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Saturday, October 27, 2007

Fun With Fair Isle

Let a joy keep you. Reach out your hands and take it when it runs by.
-Carl Sandburg

The Christmas basket is finally getting some love. Check out these mittens.That wasn't enough, was it?Hallard Mittens
Pattern: from Folk Mittens
Yarn: Cascade 220 - delightful. I have bunches more. More mittens, perhaps?
Needles: US 3 Brittany Birch dpns
Notes: The only real modification I made was to use the same pattern on both cuffs instead of corrugated ribbing on the left cuff. A delightful pattern.
Best Thing About This Project: The initials on the right cuff. But I can't show you them, can I?I loved making these mittens so much that I went ahead and got ready to start not one, not two, but three new stranded knitting projects. And, yes, one of them is mittens. Oops!

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Thursday, October 25, 2007

That Travel Knitting I Was Talking About

The World is a book, and those who do not travel read only a page.
-St. Augustine

I told you that travel was good for knitting.

There's that mish-mash of lace in progress, otherwise known as Frost Flowers and Leaves . .

And then a finished pair of Merino Lace Socks for the Christmas basket.

Merino Lace Socks
from Interweave's Favorite Socks Book
Yarn: Blueberry sock yarn from Ball and Skein
Needles: US 1 dpns
Notes: No real changes from the pattern, although given the short and stubby legs that run in my family I only did 2 repeats of the lace pattern for the leg instead of 2 1/2.
Best Thing About This Project: Cute. Socks. And look how nice and elegant the lace pattern looks in this darker-than-usual yarn. Surprising, but I went with my gut instinct on this one and it all worked out just fine.

All in all, not bad for a couple of plane trips.

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Wednesday, October 24, 2007

Give Me a Good Blizzard

Heat cannot be separated from fire, or beauty from the Eternal.

Some natural disasters are good for knitting. Think blizzards, or even big snowstorms. (Lucky ADD Knitter - she got snowed into Aspen!) Even a good thunderstorm, plus or minus a power outage, to make knitting by candlelight romantic and appealing.

Unfortunately, San Diego has none of those disasters. Instead, we get these wildfires. Acres and acres, many homes, evacuations all over the place, closed roads, and horrible smoke and ash everywhere else. Plus it's 90 degrees with 8 percent humdity, thanks to the Santa Ana winds that are fueling the fires.(And, yes, the only time I'm ever out in the daylight is dawn. Why do you ask?)

I have managed to get some knitting done in the interim, but no photos yet. Our hospital got a bunch of evacuees from another hospital, so it's been busy. Since I've been tasked a night shift tomorrow, I'm hoping to get nice daylight photos tomorrow. Hopefully the skies will clear and it'll be sunny and not smokey.

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Monday, October 22, 2007


It takes two flints to make a fire.
-Louisa May Alcott

I returned last night from my second round-trip cross-country trip in 10 days (yes, I am tired - why do you ask?) full of mediations on the incredible amount of knitting one can get done in all those airports and on all those plane rides.

And it is true - I made great progress on my Frost Flowers and Leaves shawl, finished the Merino Lace Socks, and knit large parts of two other pairs of socks. Photos, however? Going to have to wait.

I saw the wildfires from the plane last night, and in the meantime, the hospital is one of those places that gets busier in a state of emergency. The knitting will just have to wait.

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Friday, October 19, 2007

Winning Again

There is no one luckier than he who thinks himself so.
-German Proverb

Lately, I've been awfully lucky in contests. Ever notice how these come in spurts?

At any rate, I was greated when I got home from leave by this wonderful package:

KC at Blue Turtle Knits
sent me some delightful sock yarn, a postcard, and some goodies from her travels.

Ever notice, also, that no matter how fast I knit socks (yup - a couple more finished pairs coming soon . . .) it's never fast enough to keep up with the incoming yarn? I'm going to need a whole second basket for sock yarn soon!

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Tuesday, October 16, 2007

No Place Like Home

What is more agreeable than one's home?

Truly, there is no place like home.

Giving baby gifts.(Note: the bear is as big as the 2-week-old baby!)

Receiving bridal shower gifts.
(Note: in addition to all the kitchenware, my sister-in-law gave me yarn!)

And last but not least, beautiful sunny fall days in the Northeast.(Note: buildings older than 50 years!)

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Saturday, October 13, 2007

Some Little Socks

A man travels the world over in search of what he needs
and returns home to find it.

-George Moore

While we're all still basking in the glow of the scrappy socks, I thought I'd share another recent FO, and another favorite thing to do with leftover sock yarn.

I call these "Little Socks" for obvious reasons, and I can attest that they are the absolute best possible thing to wear inside your clogs. (You do have Danskos, right?)

Little Socks
Pattern: mine (ish) - basically these are top-down short-row heel socks (Colleen, are you falling over yet?) with a short cuff - 10 rows of 1x1 ribbing
Yarn: leftovers. Here, Artyarns Ultramerino in gunmetal gray for the heel and toe, and Lorna's Laces, colorway unknown, for the body.
Needles: US1 dpns
Notes: This is the one case where I think a short-row heel really is warranted. Something about the way it fits in the shoes.
Best Thing About This Project: I don't have a photo, but I can assure you that they look awesome with my new red clogs.

So the real question remains . . . If I have all these great uses for leftover sock yarn, why do I still have so much?

Herald, ye, the dangers of knitting 117 pairs of socks.

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Friday, October 12, 2007

Leaves in My Backyard

It was one of those perfect English autumnal days which occur more frequently in memory than in life.
-P.D. James

Home for fall - pumpkins, leaves, and the general change of weather on the east coast. I love it. (And I really miss it.)
So while I'm hanging out with all the family, delivering baby gifts, attending my wedding shower, and just generally enjoying this all, we can all admire the finally blocked September UFO.

Backyard Leaves Scarf
Pattern: Backyard Leaves Scarf from Scarf Style
Yarn: KnitPicks Merino Style in Asparagus (3 skeins)
Needles: US 7 Brittany Birch straights (oh, how I love thee)
Notes: This was, like most scarf projects, both fun and tedious. The lace pattern is interesting, but I never could memorize it, and it does seem to grow. But it's still a scarf. And still long.
Best Thing About This Project: Finally getting around to knitting it after having the yarn for 2 years.


Tuesday, October 09, 2007

Startitis Strikes Again

Half our life is spent trying to find something to do
with the time we have rushed through life trying to save.
-Will Rogers

It is incredible how many projects a gal can start in a weekend if she gets lucky and doesn't get called in for backup call. (And also if one's husband happens to be away and one is recovering from a bit of a cold and if one gets a little extra day this weekend . . .) Want a little tour?

Some were successful, and some less so.

I was really excited initially about the Vintage Beaded Gloves from Handknit Holidays, until I cast on 90 sts on US1s with sportweight yarn and started a twisted rib. Then I really began to have my doubts. A perusal of Ravelry to see the finished projects clinched it - a definite no-go.
So what would you do with 2 skeins of Blue Sky Alpaca and Silk?

I was equally excited about Meida's Socks from the Interweave Favorite Sock books. . . and I still am after I remembered that I always have to go up 1 needle size on a Nancy Bush pattern.
Good-bye first repeat, hello US2s.

Some other projects have survived the weekend without any major frogging.

The Log Cabin Socks from Handknit Holidays (have I ever told you how much I love this book) have the distinct privilege of being made from the very oldest yarn in my stash (Tahki Dakota). The fact that the variation obscures some of the cabling is so secondary and so not important to it's general warmth, fuzziness, and cabley-goodness.

Speaking of stash, I started Shedir in the KnitPicks Ambrosia leftover from my sister's Rowena. (But not for my sister - that would be too matchy-matchy.) Something tells me that it doesn't have quite the stitch definition of the Calmer, but it's lovely nonetheless.

A pair of Trekking socks. Because, really - who doesn't need some stockinette stitch?
And the very antithesis of plain and boring would be the best-for-last project I started.
These are the Hallard mittens from Folk Mittens in (what else?) Cascade 220. The heathered brown is also one of the older stash yarns I've had, and I bought the cream to go with it. These mittens are just perfectly delightful, and way speedier than I thought. Mitten 1 is now done except for the thumb and I'm on to Mitten 2.

The very best part is a surprise - there are initials on the inside of the cuff.

And if all of those new projects weren't enough, I made some beautiful yarn cakes with more Cascade 220. Future projects coming our way . . . And all is right with this world of warmth and goodness, isn't it?

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Sunday, October 07, 2007

The Scrappy Socks Are Here

Leftovers in their less visible form are called memories.
Stored in the refrigerator of the mind and the cupboard of the heart. -Thomas Fuller

They're here! They're here! The Scrappy Socks are here!

And I adore them. They turned out even better than I expected. They seem to flow from one pattern to the other almost effortlessly. Again, better than I expected.

Scrappy Socks
Pattern: mine (see below)
Yarn: mine leftovers (see below)
Needles: US 1 dpns
Notes: Um, see below
Best Thing About This Project: These are my favorite socks by far. More than any of the technically-challenging ones, these I jsut adore. It's all the memories of all the socks. And I'm in love.

So, you want to know what I did? Consider this your Ten Step Pattern (but you do need to already know how to knit socks):
  1. Grab your self-striping sock yarns and pick a solid or two for the cuffs, toes, and heels.
  2. Cast on the right number of stitches for socks for you on needles you choose. (I did 64 sts on US 1s)
  3. Make a cuff in your cuff color (highly recommended to be a solid). I did 20 rows.
  4. Start with a color you have more of than others and knit 8 rows. After 8 rows, stop.
  5. Switch to another color, and knit 8 rows. As you switch colors, weave in the ends as you go. (This is KEY. You really don't want all those ends to weave in.)
  6. Keep alternating colors every 8 rows until it's long enough for the leg. You want to make sure you repeat one or two colors at regular-ish intervals for continuity.
  7. Make a heel. I like heel flaps, but you could easily do short rows. Use a non-striping yarn for this.
  8. Pick back up with the self-striping and knit - changing every 8 rows and making a gusset if needed - until the toe.
  9. Knit a toe in your contrast color.
  10. Make a second sock "the same" as the first. I used the same yarns in the same order, but that meant that the colors were often from different places in the stripe sequence. Looks great, doesn't it?
Reasons I think this worked in this pair:
  1. I didn't use all of my leftovers, I only grabbed about 8 different self-striping ones that somewhat coordinated. In this case, that meant none of the "manly" ones.
  2. Only 8 rows at a time. And always eight rows (except one time when I was running out and I only did 6, but the same on each sock).
  3. I repeated a couple of yarns throughout - the magenta-orange one and the lone Opal skein I had (the one with the longer repeats).
  4. Definitely do solid heels, toes, and cuffs. It ties it all together.
The only downside:
Look how much leftover sock yarn I still have. These socks used much less yarn than I expected, and only rid me entirely of one whole color.

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Thursday, October 04, 2007

Scrappy Socks, and Other

The artist is a receptacle for the emotions that come from all over the place:
from the sky, from the earth, from a scrap of paper,
from a passing shape, from a spider's web.
-Pablo Picasso

You want it, you got it. Here's an in-progress photo of the scrappy socks:
Awesome, eh?

And since it's not all socks all the time around here, I did get around to sewing those buttons on that baby cardigan. October UFO done early!

Chenille Baby Cardigan
Pattern: Chenille Cardigan from Natural Knits for Babies and Moms
Yarn: Crystal Palace Cotton Chenille - 1 ball of the cream and about 1/2 ball of the maroon
Needles: US 6
Notes: I don't love knitting with chenille, but it looks great. I made a couple of mods, the most obvious is the color change for the borders, which I did because I didn't think I'd have enough of the cream to do the whole thing (I wouldn't have it turns out). I also knit the body in the round to the armholes and picked up stitches for the sleeves and knit down. It was annoying to knit the sleeves with the whole sweater hanging off, and I made my rate of decreasing a little too steep, but it was still probably better than seaming with chenille.
Best Thing About This Project: Done with my October UFO so early!

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Wednesday, October 03, 2007

The Number We've All Been Waiting For

The whole is more than the sum of its parts.

I promise and I don't deliver. At least you guys keep me honest! This Socktober I'm going to catch up with my sock list, my sock number, and a photo of all the socks I happen to have in my sock box this very moment (probably about half of the ones I have - the rest were too dirty for blogland). Here's the photo, inspired by Abigail's Sock Circle:
And, since you're just so gosh darn curious - the number of socks I've knit is 115. (I still have to blog about pair 115, btw, so don't hold your breath.) My pace has really slowed down recently. I'm sure I could have done the 52 Pair Plunge while in med school, but now it's more like 1-2 pairs a month. Still, better than nothing, right?

And since we're talking about socks, let me call your attention to two lists previously posted on this blog:

1. Great Sock Patterns
2. Great Sock Patterns for Manly Men

Just for your Socktoberfest enjoyment!

And coming soon . . . the Scrappy Socks are flying off the needles. It's just far too entertaining to watch!

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Monday, October 01, 2007

Socktoberfest is Here!

October is the fallen leaf, but it is also a wider horizon more clearly seen.
It is the distant hills once more in sight,
and the enduring constellations above them once again.
-Hal Borland

By the way, I finished the scarf. All it needs now is a bath, but it's done.

Jenn has declared that Socktoberfest will be for finishing up single socks. I think I might join her in finishing up socks I've been already been working on. Ever since that husband went off to Pensacola (harumpf), I find that my driving-while-a-passenger time is practically non-existant. And my sock progress has been reduced concomitantly.

Merino Lace Socks from the Interweave Favorite Socks book. These are gorgeous. And the dark yarn (Ball and Skein Blueberry) is surprisingly wonderful for these small scale lace patternsLittle Arrowhead Lace Socks
Scrappy Socks
Aren't these awesome? They're coming out even better than I'd hoped!

I'm also about to start Meida's socks from Interweave's Favorite Socks. I picked up some Regia Silk 6-ply in a big Webs sale that would be just perfect.

It's not as many as Jenn, but then, how could it be?

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