Friday, September 29, 2006

Gratification: Quick and Slow

Knitting Friends - Work issues have been grabbing at my skirt and demanding attention this week, so I am just now getting a chance to share my progress from last weekend. The Mason Dixon kimono was a shower present for a friend from Voces Angelorum who was also a classmate of daughter Alexa in high school. I used 1 skein of Cotton Fleece on #6 needles (with only a few yards to spare) and made the body 5" instead of 4". It looks more like size 6-9 months instead of newborn. This took 2 evenings to make (plus finding buttons) and got a great reception at the shower.

Da Capo, Hanne Falkenberg's exercise in geometry, is 2/3 complete and still makes me smile when I look at it. The solid square section that makes up the front took longer than I anticipated--for some reason stripes seem to work up faster than the same area in a solid color--but since it is worked directly onto the sleeve and back there will be very little assembly at the end of the project. Sleeve 2 is progressing nicely, and all that remains after it is done is the neckband, which is also knit onto the fronts and neck opening. I think it will be complete in time for New York.

Next week I will be in Charleston SC visiting DH who is there on sabbatical. I want to visit Ft. Sumter, the aquarium, Drayton Hall, and the LYS a few blocks from where I'll be staying. I understand it carries Alchemy yarn. DH says he has found lots of places to eat--everything from shrimp and grits to Carolina-style barbeque (yum!) I have another pair of Step socks for him, but they are just like the last pair and don't warrant a picture.

You should check out the shawl on Brainy Lady's blog. I love the size (not too big) and pattern (not too fussy but certainly not plain). I've been thinking about making a shawl in on of the Fleece Artist yarns, but I'm still looking for the right pattern.

Gotta put the final touches on a report before I leave town, so keep those cards and letters coming.


Tuesday, September 19, 2006

Why Vogue Knitting Makes Me Crazy

Well, knitter-critters, this is what progress looks like: a sleeve and the beginning of a front. I love the way this sweater is coming together, but I have to crank up the AC just to work on it. That is a lot of wool to be holding in ones lap in a Tallahassee September. Persevere I will, though, because I have a trip planned to NYC in late October and this sweater will be worn!

While I was in San Diego I bought the fall issue of Vogue Knitting because it has a tutorial on entrelac, but I had the same reaction to the magazine that I've had before. It makes me crazy, and I have been thinking about why.

1. The patterns seem to call for way too much yarn. I haen't tested this hypothesis, because I am risk averse, but, really, how can a pair of womens' socks take 2 skeins of Trekking XXL?
2. The models do not remotely resemble the knitters I know. I like to see the products modeled on real people (as in or people who at least resemble real people (as in Interweave Knits).
3. The patterns seem to be fussy for the sake of fussiness, or of using yet more yarn.

I will probably buy Vogue Knitting again, and may even knit something from it (I have in the past) but I don't think I'll ever love it.

Any thoughts on what makes the perfect source of knitting patterns and inspiration?

Gotta flit.


Tuesday, September 12, 2006

The Fire on the Mountain burns knitter

I'm right there with you Ellen with the socks with the sock serenity. However, mine just flew out the window. See this nice completed sock to the left here? It's Sock's that Rock Fire on the Mountain. It's been finished for a while, patiently waiting for its sister sock to be completed. Today I finished it. I was satisfied. I even though my tootsies might just be cool enough to try them on and wear them with pride. And as I was sitting and looking at them with a bit of pride thinking to myself that I was satisfied with the fact that I have finished at least 6 pairs that I can think of.

And then it appeared, staring right back at me. I thought to myself, you know, there appears to be my toe showing through my sock. Nah..... can't be.. hmmm so I wiggle my toes a little. What crossed my mind at that point was not repeatable - and what good would it do anyway? Needless to say, nausea started to set in. And no good blog would not provide you with the evidence of a sock gone bad.

The kitchener stitch went off without a hitch (hmmm poetry)...this is like having a run in your hose - a stitch escaping a toe hold.

While Ellen is tweaking and deciding between size 0, 1, 1.5, and 2 needles and finding the perfect fit, Cathy is dealing with bigger fish to fry - because starting off with a hole in the toe of a sock is about as bad as having a hole in unmentionables.

So.... my next venture after this repair, should it be my mission, will begin with a toe up sock without the seam.

Seeking Sock Serenity

Dear Fellow Sock Knitters - I feel like a very slow learner. While I see other knitters turning out socks with lace or cables, I am stuck in the search for the "best" basic sock. Since June 2005 I have knit at least 10 pairs, but not one has been entirely satisfying. Sometimes the wool had been the issue, but usually it is the pattern--loose in the ankle, pointy in the toe, tight at the cuff bind-off.
The sock in progress incorporates improvements on each of these issues, and I've gotten advice from so many sources. I use the figure 8 cast on, a short-row heel from the Interweave Knits Sock page (members only), and the Elizabeth Zimmerman sewn bind-off. There are 64 stitches knit on 5 #1 dps (Brittany Birch 5") and the cuff, which starts 12 rows above the heel, is 1x1 ribbing. After 3" of ribbing I switch to #1 1/2 needles to complete the cuff.
These are husband socks; for myself I use #0 needles and adjust the foot length. The wool is Austermann Step, which you really should try. It is treated with Aloe and Jojoba, and feels so good to knit. It could come in better colors, especially in guy colors, though.

I went to San Diego last week and got a lot of knitting done on the flights and at the hotel. I also visited a yarn shop but was disappointed by the selection; it was predominantly upscale novelty yarns. There were beautiful ribbons and metallics but those are not what I am interested in right now. They are also so expensive! I'd like to see more patterns combining a little of the glitzy stuff with "normal" yarn.

The other picture is the first Da Capo sleeve. I've been looking ahead on the instructions and it seems to get complicated; it probably calls for good lighting and no alcohol!

Gotta flit! Let me know what you are up to.