Tuesday, April 27, 2010

They're finished!

I have finished my Twice Striped Socks at last.  I had to do one more finicky bit where I cut the yarn I had carried around the ankle, and carefully secured the ends.  This required good light and a large dose of patience, but I think everything will be okay now!  I am very pleased with the socks from the outside, and we'll just forget about all of the extra tails around the ankles and heels on the inside!  The stripes are matchy-matchy (my new word for the day) too, which I always enjoy when it works out!

I'm also making progress on the second pair of stripey socks.  I've completed the short row heel and have worked my way about an inch up the leg.  I used the hand-painted yarn for the heel, and I think it looks good.  It had been fun to experiment a bit with sock construction on these last few pairs.  I wasn't bored of doing my standard, top-down, slip-stitch heel socks, but it's good to shake things up a bit now and then too.  Especially since socks are the only things I've been working on for the last few weeks, due to reduced knitting time, so I may as well keep things interesting!

Friday, April 23, 2010

Want a good book?

I recently stumbled upon these books in the local library and really enjoyed them. They're light reading - British 'chick lit' if you will - but full of knitting, and a yarn shop, which is fun.  The original books as published in the UK are Divas Don't Knit, and Needles and Pearls.  The first book has also been republished in the US as The Beach Street Knitting Society and Yarn Club - I was disappointed when I thought I'd found a third one, but it was the first one in a new jacket!  A warning, one of the characters is rather foul-mouthed, prompting me to give the books a 'PG' rating for the faint of heart!

Wednesday, April 21, 2010


Here's what I've been working on for the last week - there hasn't been a lot of knitting time.  I'm very pleased with these little guys.  They're knit out of a single ball of a sage green alpaca blend from a very simple garter stitch pattern.  I made them for two students, sisters, who have been keen members of my knitting group at school and are moving away next week.  So these bears will be living in India soon - I hope they won't be too hot!

Tuesday, April 13, 2010

April Showers...

It's quintessential spring weather today - cloudy skies interspersed with showers and sunny breaks, and relatively mild.  I have to keep remembering that it's good growing weather for the garden, because for myself I'd prefer it to be rather warmer.  It's also good knitting weather, though!

I've finished the second Twice-Striped Sock.  I'm very pleased with how these socks look, but I have to confess to having had issues getting the heels to work out right.  On the first sock, I accidentally carried one of the yarns across the middle of the row of waste yarn stitches.  When it came time to pick up the stitches for the heel I had to cut the offending yarn, then do some fancy 'manoeuverings' in order to keep everything from unraveling.  It worked out in the end, but it wasn't a process I wanted to repeat.  For the second sock, I thought I was being very clever when I carried the non-working yarn around the entire sock before knitting in the waste yarn stitches, so that it wouldn't go across the middle again.  Unfortunately (and I didn't notice this until I tried the finished sock on), this resulted in a rather tight band of yarn around the foot, just where you would least want it - the heel circumference.  So once again I've had to snip and unravel and curse and reknit.  Sigh...

I guess if I had knit a short row heel in situ, instead of doing the afterthought heel, then these problems would not have arisen.  It's the striping and the alternating yarns that are the complicating factors.  So what am I knitting now?  Another pair of socks in the same striping, because I like the look so much, and had the perfect yarns in my stash!  This time I will try the short row heel and see if I can avoid further complications.  I''m also knitting this pair from the toe up, because I've only done one other pair that way, and I want to keep things interesting.

Here is the new sock in progress.  For this one I'm using leftover Lorna's Laces Shepherd Sock in the Fun Knits colourway, and leftover Knit Picks Stroll Kettle Dyed, in Timber, which they appear to be clearing out now.  I think the combination looks yummy - like chocolate and some kind of fruity gelato!

I also took some pictures while I was installing the second afterthought heel.  You can imagine the process working flawlessly, which it did while I was taking the pictures, if not so much later on!

Here I have unpicked the first dozen or so waste yarn stitches, and picked up the resulting live stitches onto two circular needles.  It was easier to knit the heel with two circulars than with double-pointed needles, because at first the two sides of the aperture were very close together, and with the circulars you can work on each side without the other getting in the way.

Here all of the live stitches have been picked up onto the two circular needles and are ready to be knitted with the yarn for the heel.

And finally, here is the heel partly knitted.  It would be such a perfect process if only I hadn't had all those yarn-carrying issues!

The stripes lined up fairly well where I switched between yarns.  I used the jogless jog method, which is definitely an improvement over not doing anything at all, but I guess it isn't quite as perfect as I would like.  It seems to have worked better with thicker yarns when I was knitting hats and things.  Has anyone found a better technique?

Tuesday, April 6, 2010

And then it was April...

So we were without our computer for two weeks, and while I was lucky enough to be able to borrow a laptop from school as a replacement, it wouldn't let me post to the blog!  Frustratingly, it let me write an entire post, but then I couldn't put it online.

I haven't been doing a whole lot of knitting, but have been making some progress on the striped one.  The first one is finished, and the second one just needs the rest of a toe, and a heel.  I thought I could post some pictures showing the afterthought heel going in.  In the second picture you can see the line of white stitches (on the unfinished sock) that are knit from waste yarn, and will be picked up to create the heel - more to follow.

I don't much care for the look of the afterthought heel until it's on someone's foot, and then it actually fits well.  This is surprising to me, given that it's built the same way as a sock toe, and a person's heel and toes don't have all that much in common with respect to shape and size!  Cool how it works out, though.  And there's the added bonus that if the heel gets worn out (in just the right spot, of course), then it can easily be replaced.

 Dave and I have also started to knit squares out of leftover sock yarn with the goal of making the Barn-Raising Quilt out of Knitalong.  I have made two squares, and Dave knit one out of the yarn he had left over from the last socks he knit.  It will take some patience and perseverance, since we'll need at least 42 squares, according to the pattern, but there's no rush.  We're thinking that if we knit one after every pair of socks (or even every sock - there's a lot of leftover sock yarn to be used up in the stash) it will progress at a reasonable pace.

I haven't gotten to the Pi Shawl for a while, but I did make a fair bit of progress in the car to and from Vernon, as well as while we were there. This is definitely a long term project.  It's easy to pick up whenever long stretches of stocking stitch are appropriate.

And that's the update for now - see you soon!