Thursday, April 26, 2007

The other shoe drops.

After all the business about the sock patterns I wanted to knit, I cast on tonight for an entirely different sock--a pattern called Child's French Sock from Knitting Vintage Socks (again, not a pattern for children, depsite the name). I'm doing it up in a Jawoll superwash that's kind of a spring green. I'm kind of in love with the yarn. Also, I love that Jawoll comes in cute tiny skeins and I don't have to hand wind it. Anyway, I did about ten rows of the ribbing at the top during a couple of episodes of Arrested Development...and will probably now have to abandon the sock for the next month while I write my papers. I do still have my other two plain stockinette socks going, and those should be good for study breaks.

Anyway, the moral of the story is that I fail at having a reasonably-lengthed attention span.

Edited to add: Wait, I actually did have this one on my list. Congratulations, me. I guess?

Monday, April 23, 2007

about time

I'm so pleased because I've finally been able to list a new item in my shop after a ridiculously long dry spell. And for the first time in weeks, one of my ideas actually worked -- and worked both times! So at least the time I should have spent reading wasn't totally wasted.

Here, then, is my second pair of silly space-themed earrings. We think they're almost what you might even venture to call "funky."

Part Two: Sock Patterns, or Socks As Traffic Violations

I think I've decided what kind of socks I want to make with my Lorna's Laces: Jaywalkers, by Grumperina. I would like to take a moment to register my annoyance with people/publications who do their sample socks in variegated yarn. You cannot see what a garment looks like if it's done in busy yarn! I mean, my LL yarn is by no means for the faint of heart, but...I'm just knitting for myself. I only know really what the Jaywalkers are really supposed to look like because tons of people have knitted them. At any rate, it turns out that someone on Flickr has already done Jaywalkers in the LL Motherlode colorway, so you, Reader, and I can have an idea of what my proposed Jaywalkers will look like (I hope). The pattern, in case it isn't clear, makes zig zag stripes; normally, the yarn would knit up something like this. I have no clue what that person did to make the yarn photograph like it has a cold, but the colors are truer in the Jaywalker photo.

Sunday, April 22, 2007

Part One: Sock, don't run away! Come back!

Um, so I've been looking at sock patterns like crazy lately, mostly because of the massive quantities of sock yarn I've been buying. Trolling for sock patterns and yarn does not equal actually knitting socks, but for the next month, what with the papers and whatnot, my knitting will be sparse and boring. (I cast on for the leg of the mate of the Regia Canadian Colors Eclipse sock I've been working on--no, the first one's not done yet, for, though I decided to go with the simple flap heel, I have not gotten any farther than knitting the flap for it--so I could have something to work on during the movie I projected last Wednesday. Between that, some library knitting, and the pilgrimage to the Princeton* library yesterday, I have maybe 3-4 inches done. My dilemma now is that dropped from 2.5mm needles on the leg to 2.0mm for the foot seems to be a bit too much of a difference, so I think that I'll move up to 2.25 mm needles after I turn the heel. A tighter fabric is better for the heel anyway, right? That would mean, however, that I will have used needles of four different sizes at various stages of this sock, which is ridiculous. Anyway! I hope to continue to plug away at these socks whilst I work on my papers.)

In any case, I thought I'd assemble a list of some patterns I'd like to try, and perhaps the largely silent, but copious (she says optimistically), readers of this blog may care to weigh in (anonymously if necessary) on which they find appealing and what they definitely do not.

I have Nancy Bush's Knitting Vintage Sock Patterns, and I love nearly all the patterns; from it, I'm especially interested in:
  1. Gentlemen's Socks. This is my favorite out of the book; the stitch pattern is understated and visually interesting. I'd probably do these in a similar kind of yarn--I am really in love with yarn that's plied with two colors like the Lana Grossa yarn because it produces such a neat heathered effect. I don't have any of the Lana Grossa yarn because--well, if you know me, you know that my buying habits are often perplexing, in that I like to stalk things that I really want and not buy them for a long time, buying, instead, other, cheaper things that are sort of like what I want but are not quite good enough. Luckily, all yarn, some of the more outlandish jacquard patterns notwithstanding, is "good enough," so I can wait until I find a fine deal. Maybe.
  2. Miranda Sock; on a model. This is my second favorite pattern. I think I'd do this one in a single-color yarn, or at least a subtly-variegated one. I hate the calf shaping on the sock, though--why is that necessary? It's not as tall as a knee sock. Unless I'm feeling like I really want to learn how to do calf shaping, I'll just use the stitch pattern.
  3. Child's French Sock; another picture. Nancy Bush has adapted this pattern for a child's sock to fit a larger foot. I have the perfect yarn for it: some Chinese red/subtly blue-plied sock yarn I got for a song from a destasher on Etsy.
That's all for now, Reader.

*Lilyriver has referred to Princeton as the "pleasure palace of the privileged," which is as apt as it is alliterative.

Friday, April 20, 2007

straight to the source

The Bolter swears it will never come to this, but if we ever become the kind of fiber artists who want to cut out the middlemen -- ALL of the middlemen -- I've found a supplier for us.

Thursday, April 19, 2007


Well, the shrug is finished, and I think its name pretty much sums up how I feel about it (although it does look nice on the lingerie/yarn chest we inherited last weekend). Everything went according to plan and it was incredibly simple to make, but I'm just not in love with the color or the ruffles on the sleeves, which are the very elements that sparked my enthusiasm for the project to begin with. I keep imagining it in black with nice understated cuffs, which I think is just proof that I really do have a fashion sense as boring as my younger sister always says it is -- as if I need another black layer in my wardrobe! But the ruffles were fun to make at least, and I did come away very impressed with the Lamb's Pride yarn, which feels soft yet substantial against the skin. As you can see in the sleeve detail, even the simple 1x1 rib in this pattern shows up well, so I can imagine more complicated stitch patterns would look really sharp. If I make any interesting (or unbloggably boring) scarves next winter, I will probably use this yarn again. In fact, maybe I should just sew up the rest of the shrug and keep it as a nice tube scarf...

Anyway, the shrug is done, long live the shorts! Luckily I seemed to have coordinated my knitting projects so that I am never without something in pink to work on. Last night I finished the crotch increases on my shorts, divided the round into the two legs, and did the cable cast-on that forms one side of the crotch seam. This was my first encounter with the cable cast-on, and I have to say we did not exactly hit it off. For some reason the plys (?) of my yarn kept coming apart as I was making the new stitches. But I muddled through and now I think I could finish these damn shorts in one or two good TV marathons, which is exciting but also a little unsettling because I have no idea what I want to knit next. Perhaps something that will make me look cuter in pictures...?

Tuesday, April 17, 2007


Well, Reader, there has been knitting, but there has not been productive knitting--at least by me. Lilyriver finished her lovely shawl and should make an appearance with it on soon enough. The lace scarf, I'm sorry to say, is going back in my box until I can give it my full attention. Ready, set, May 25.

As soon as my camera battery has been replaced, I'll post pictures of the haul Lilyriver and I got from my grandmother's craft stash. I am pretty pumped about using her needles, especially some of the lovely wooden ones. We also took home her beautiful hardwood lingerie chest, and it's the nicest thing we currently have in our we're using it to store yarn.

Learning that my classes today were cancelled, I decided not to get a jumpstart on the papers looming like vultures over my head and instead learn how to make short-row heels. Seven hours later (the seven hours, I'll note, includes frequent yarn-browsing breaks), I have a short-row heeled sock. I do not have a picture of it because my camera battery is dead. I do not have joy coming off me in waves because the heel is full of holes. I'm itching, itching to rip it out and do the usual flap-gusset heel, even though I know I'll never get the short-row business down if I give up now. My short-row heel isn't hideous, and may, with a few clever picked up stitches, be serviceable, but it's not as pretty as all the ones I looked at on Flickr. Mine has this problem and this* problem. The latter problem is fixable through picked up stitches. The former really isn't. It's gotta come out. The only thing that I need to decide is what I'm going to replace it with.

But see, what's killing me is that I've already done the heel three times. For my first two tries, I used two different tutorials and couldn't quite make heads or tails of them. For my third try, I used this one by cosmicpluto, and I know--I know--that there's nothing wrong with the tutorial.

But no, I'll persevere. I'll rip it out a do it a fourth time. But not today. Dear god, not today.

*The other thing that makes me sad about that green patterned sock is that it's yet another discontinued Knit Picks Simple Stripe yarn that I covet. Covet, covet, covet.

Friday, April 13, 2007

I never thought it could happen to me, but....

Remember how I was all like, Pooling? Who cares about pooling? Pooling's great, you damn yarn whiners.

Famous last words.

All I did was drop down a size and a half in needles and the yarn made that crazy giant purple and blue stripe on the foot! It was, I admit, really fun to knit; I could hardly believe my eyes while it was happening. But what happened to the green? How will I ever replicate that effect on the second sock? The answer to the second question is, of course, that there's no way I can. I'm more likely to knit the face of Jesus in the second sock than I am to get that stripe back. And it's cool, but suddenly what I thought might be a tasteful (HA) autumn sock might instead hop in a van and spend its summer following the Grateful Dead.

In other news, I cast on a new sock (not that one's mate, much to the dismay of the long-suffering Lilyriver) with my Regia Canadian Classic Colors Eclipse, and it's knitting up so quickly and easily that I feel kind of bad about it. I have done another couple inches since I took that picture. Another wild colorway, that's for sure. The Regia yarn, it turns out, is really excellent for socks--it's spun quite tightly and doesn't split. It really seems like it'll last forever even if I machine wash and dry. It isn't as soft as the 100% merino wool sock I just made, but I'm sure I'll get more wear out of it.

What fresh hell is this?

Wednesday, April 11, 2007

Yarn yearnings: YThe yaccidental yconsumer.

Through various accidents of fate, I have wound up with:
  1. 1 ball Regia Canadian Colors Eclipse (#4745).
  2. 2+ hanks Lorna's Laces Motherlode.
You may notice that neither colorway are ones I identified as having wanted in my previous yarn post. The LL came from a blog sale, and I got a great deal; the Regia from eBay, when I resolved that I would get the Canadian Colors Brasil--but the only seller listing it couldn't find her last ball, so I agreed to let her substitute the Eclipse instead.

No more yarn, seriously. No more yarn.

P.S. I finished a sock this morning. I swear the yarn is getting used. Just...not as quickly as I acquire it. Get ready for A Summer of Crafting Mania! (TM).

P.P.S. Don't tell my mom, but I switched scarf patterns. She totally looked! (It's genetic.) Also I decided I didn't like the Knitty pattern after all.

Sunday, April 8, 2007

Mere anarchy is loosed upon the world.

No pictures today, Readers: there are none to be had. I am annoyed. After five years of yarn over-avoidance, I thought I may as well learn how to do them, and give one of the Knitty patterns a try. Everyone does Knitty patterns, y'all. And I wanted a break from my sock, the colors of which have become increasingly nauseating as I proceed. I chose this pattern (warning: the person who gave birth to me should not look. However, if I saw a warning like that directed at me, I would totally look. But I read the last page of a book before I read the first one) and some Knit Picks Gloss.

And I have frogged and frogged and frogged. RIBBIT.

I have not made it through one ten-row pattern repeat yet. I have not even made it past row five. I drop stitches. I wind up with the wrong number of stitches. I emote through italics. Everything about the pattern is easy--even the yarn overs, which, it turns out, I was wrong to avoid--but sort of impossible for me to fix without taking out a couple rows.

I've rolled it all back up into the ball for now. This is a sign, probably, that I need to work on the presentation I have to give this week. Or take a nap.

Thursday, April 5, 2007

In which it proves startlingly difficult to photograph a sock.

Today, Readers, I gave my beige tweed socks a test drive, and while I can't say I'm falling over myself in rapture to the joy of hand knit socks, they were lovely. I think they felted a bit on the bottom, which should not have happened but may prove fortuitous as it should make the fabric stronger.

But the purpose of this post is to showcase the sock at left. I've done the cuff and the top of the foot in a 3x1 rib using size 1.5 dpns (for the foot I'm using 0s). I made the cuff a bit longer than I've done before--it's around six inches--and that might cause me some trouble, as I have some concerns about running out of yarn. I'd just do the toe in a contrasting color, so it wouldn't be a disaster, but it's making me think about learning how to do socks via the toe-up method. In any case, it's another simple design, enabling me to knit while I'm reading (sort of) or screening films in the dark or whatever. The real pleasure of the project is the yarn, which, as I've mentioned before, came from kaleido's Etsy shop. It's 100% merino wool, meaning that it's not superwash and therefore must be handwashed, but 1) I'd probably handwash them anyway and 2) the yarn, without the nylon and the superwash wool treatment, is quite amazingly soft. One may, I realize, have some reservations about the colors (this is not a sock for the faint of heart), but as I've said before, sock knitting is all about putting one's pesky "taste" aside in favor of more interesting knitting. The picture at right I include because it's truer to the actual colors of the sock.

Oh! And the Brittany folks came through and sent me replacements for my snapped needles free of charge. In fact, they sent me an entirely new set, so if you'd like two five inch size 0 dpns, you know who to call.

Wednesday, April 4, 2007

already gone

They've already changed the homepage, but luckily we captured the screen -- I was top row center.

They really like me!

Just a quick post to share some Etsy excitement: a pair of my earrings is right now being featured on the homepage! (Don't worry, I'll post a screencap soon, too.) Amandamade (who sells some highly covetable quilted bags) chose them for her treasury, which was chosen for the front page, and just like that, I've hit the big time! Okay, so in the grand scheme of things, it's no big deal, but I've got to say it feels pretty good. And not only this surprise but also a fantastic Easter package was waiting for me after class today. I just want to curl up in bed with my chocolate and my laptop and stay there until summer.

Monday, April 2, 2007

Conform. Consume. Obey

I feel like I'd be a better person if I patronized one charming vendor instead of hunting for "bargains" on eBay, but part of the fun of yarn-buying is the thrill of the hunt. Without further ado, the sock yarns I'd love to buy if I were independently wealthy and/or could knit fast enough to justify adding to my stash:
  1. Regia Canadian Colors in Brasil (#4741) or Canadian Colors Fashion Collection in Winnipeg (#4734). Yes, this is yarn from a German company made in Italy in colors inspired by Canada. Or, in the case of the 4741, yarn inspired by Brazil from a German company made in Italy in a line made for the Canadian market.
  2. Lorna's Laces Shepherd Sock, in Vera, Watercolor, Baltic Sea, Aslan, Gold Hill, Pioneer, or Argyle. I am really enamored of LL's colorways--you can look for yourself if you'd like. They're a gold standard, as far as I can tell. People have all kinds of pooling problems with this yarn and bitch about it constantly (not so much in the link I sent you to, just wanted to give you an idea of what pooling is). I'm not sure I care overmuch about that; it's kind of a neat effect. What stands between me and LL bliss is the roughly $9/hank price tag (it takes two hanks for socks), which, again, I can't really justify. People do talk about this yarn like it'll cure cancer, though.
  3. Opal Feelings #1704.
  4. Opal Hundertwasser #1432, Der Blaue Mond--this looks especially great knit sideways, and I'd really like to give my sideways pattern a go. The pattern I have is an Opal one, I think, and it's in German, meaning that I could chalk up the knitting as a learning experience vital to my scholastic career. That totally justifies the $14-$20 price tag, excluding shipping, right? Right?
  5. Knit Picks Simple Stripes in Vineyard. This yarn has been discontinued; a helpful lady at Knit Picks tells me that they stopped using one particular factory in Italy and thus haven't been able to offer striped yarn since. I'm really annoyed because someone was offering two skeins on the Destash blog for $4 (including postage!), but they got snapped up before I even saw they were there. I hope people don't mind that I'm creepily linking to pictures on their blogs....
  6. Everything in kaleido's Etsy shop! I'm working on a sock in this right now to take my mind off the Almost Argyle Almost Disaster sock. Downside: handwash only.