Sunday, August 28, 2005

Socks 5

When last I blogged, I was trying to decide what to knit next. I'm happy to report that the fifth pair of socks - the summery ones - are complete. Just in time for the end of summer. I thought the yarn would be a good choice for warm weather - cotton and wool, a bit lighter weight, and bright summer colors. Then I realized I don't wear socks in the summer. But I'm sure these will be nice next spring. Still using the same pattern and needles as the previous 3 pairs.

I immediately cast on for the next pair, using some Koigu PPPM that I bought last winter. I thought it was way too expensive to use while I was still learning sock knitting, but now I feel confident that I won't ruin it. And so far, I'm very happy with it - the colors are beautiful and the yarn is soft and lustrous.

I've also been knitting a sleeveless top, but I finished the back and took a good look at it, and I really don't think it's going to be a flattering garment on me. Too boxy and bulky. I knew I had to make it longer than the pattern or I wouldn't wear it at all, but I was afraid I was going to run out of yarn and stopped too soon (I'm NOT going to run out of yarn). So I'm still working on it sporadically and I'll complete it, but I'm no longer eager for the finished product.

Sunday, May 22, 2005

Socks 4

The fourth pair of socks is complete, and the second one of the pair is my best result to date. I'm still using the same pattern, from Sally Melville's Knitting Experience: The Purl Stitch. But I really really really like this yarn - Knit Picks' Sock Landscape. It's very soft and very warm. In fact I have the socks on now, and they're too warm. I'll probably have to put them away until fall, but so far these are my favorites of the four pairs I've made. I wonder how favorite they'll be after I've hand-washed them a few times.

Now I have to make a decision. I bought some more sock yarn in Charlottesville last Monday at the Needle Lady. I got Brown Sheep Wildfoote (75% wool, 25% nylon) in Bluegrass (they don't show that color on their website), and Plymouth Yarn Sockotta (45% cotton, 40% wool, 15% nylon) in color 04 (marled blue, green, brown and gray). And I ordered some more yarn from Knit Picks - a cotton/wool blend for socks, more of the Sock Landscape, and some cotton/modal blend to make a sleeveless top for which I bought the pattern last summer. So my choices are:
  1. Finish the scarf I started after Christmas, and wait for the Knit Picks order to arrive.
  2. Start another pair of socks using the cotton/wool blend I bought in Charlottesville.
  3. Do nothing until the Knit Picks order arrives, then start the sleeveless top, which I might actually wear this summer.
  4. Do nothing until the Knit Picks order arrives, then start another pair of socks using their cotton/wool blend, which I probably won't wear until at least September.

Monday, May 02, 2005

Socks 3

Finished my third pair of socks on Saturday. These were made of elann.com's Sock It To Me Puzzle yarn in color 705 Faded Denim, knit on size 1 needles. The blue color almost exactly matches the jeans I wear most often these days, so I'm very pleased with that. I seem to have made these a big larger than the last 2 pairs. Not sure why, maybe overcompensating for the tight gauge I hit on the previous pair. They still fit OK. It took me a over a month to complete this pair, due to garden busy-ness and other things.

The next sock is already on the needles, and I can't seem to put it down. The yarn is KnitPicks' Sock Landscape in color Yukon, and I'm just about ready to start the heel. This is the first pair of socks I've made using 100% wool yarn; the others were wool and nylon. But this Sock Landscape is very soft. Even though I'm getting about the same stitch gauge (7/in.) as with the wool/nylon blend, this is knitting up into a much loftier, firmer fabric. Haven't checked the row gauge to see how that compares.

Please pardon our dust while we remodel the blog. (we? who's we?) Hope to get this one looking the same as the garden blog by the end of the week.

Monday, March 28, 2005

Socks 2

The second pair of socks was completed last weekend, but I just now uploaded the picture. I've worn and washed and worn them. They survived the first washing, but I think this yarn shrunk just a bit. This pair came out tighter than the first pair to start with, too. I'm sticking with the same pattern from Sally Melville's The Knitting Experience: The Purl Stitch until I can get a consistent product from it. From reading/surfing, I now know that this is a basic sock with a Dutch slipstitch heel.

Sunday, March 20, 2005

THE Poncho

I'm thinking of jumping on the Martha Poncho bandwagon.

Controversy rages. People who like Martha and/or ponchos are going to make one. People who hate Martha are blogging nasty things about it. People who are bored with/never liked ponches, see previous statement. Knitters are all sniffy because it's crocheted and made from cheap acrylic yarn. Crocheters are happy because their craft finally gets some good (sort of) PR. Some people suspect a conspiracy between Martha and Lion Brand yarn. (Martha says it was made from Lion Brand yarn; others say it was made from Bernat Galaxy.)

I had some Lion Brand Homespun left over from my Critter Knitters blanket, so I got out the largest crochet hook I have and started working the pattern from the Lion Brand website. This exercise had 2 purposes:
  1. To see if I could crochet with Homespun. (Yes, but it is awfully hard to see the stitches; may be easier with the larger hook the pattern calls for.)
  2. To see if I liked the pattern enough to continue. (I think it will be fine. I like the Lion Brand one the best of all those that have been posted, Lily Chin's second best.)
So, since Homespun is on sale this week at Michael's, I'll probably go and see if they have any left. Also need to buy a size N hook made from some slippery material. The wooden size L I have isn't slick enough for the yarn.

Saturday, March 12, 2005

Socks, The Second Pair

The second pair of socks is progressing more slowly than the first.

The yarn is from the Sock It To Me collection at elann.com. I bought 2 different colors from them - one deep and rich and non-patterned (Northern Forest), and the other more pastel and self-patterning (Faded Denim). I was correct in thinking that deep rich color would be uplifting to look at during the last days of winter. And by the first day of spring, they'll be finished and I can go on to something more springlike.

Now let me tell you what's wrong with them. Notice the color pooling around the ankle and instep? Notice how it isn't that way at the top of the sock? This is my fault entirely. I must have gotten a little tense working toward the ankle, because I managed to change my gauge from 7 stitches/inch at the top to 8 st/in by the time I reached the ankle. I thought they felt tight when I tried them on. By changing the gauge that much, they went from a circumference of around 7 inches to one of about 6 inches. Now I have fairly small feet, but not that small. I should have realized what I was doing when I saw the color starting to pool like that, but I just kept on, and then checked the gauge after I was halfway down the foot. Well, now I'm debating whether I should try to make the second one like the first (so they match), or keep the gauge consistent (so it fits). The first one isn't so tight that I can't wear it, but I'd like a little more wiggle room there. Check back in a week or so, and we'll see how it all turned out.

Friday, February 25, 2005

Simplex Loom

I got a nifty thing for Christmas, and I've just gotten around to playing with it. The Simplex loom is a hand-held loom, similar to a Weavette. Mine is an actual antique, or at least a collectible, made by F. B. Gustafson at 810 Ashland Ave. in Rockford, IL. I know this because I have the original instructions that came with the loom. I haven't yet been able to find out anything about the company that made it.

The needle that was included with the loom was not quite long enough to weave all the way through the warp at one time, and I thought it was too hard to try to weave with it that way. So I went Googling for a weaving needle, and found one at Camilla Valley Farm that looked like it might work. I ordered it a couple of weeks ago and it arrived this week. Well, that made a huge difference in the use of the loom.

I want to try out several different weights of yarn in different fibers to see what I like best before committing to a big project. The blue square was made with Lion Brand Wool-ease, and the white one with ?. I think it was a Bernat yarn. The white is about a sport weight and Wool-ease is supposed to be worsted weight. It was easier to weave with the thinner yarn, but of course that gives a much looser fabric. Maybe I'll get a chance to try some other yarns this weekend.