Archive for August, 2009

Foggy Memories

Not the brightest picture (sorry) but the armwarmer sampler is now on the needles!  I am totally showing my age, but this reminds me of my childhood.  Late 60s, maybe?   It was all the rage to have a looong knitted ski hat with a tassel on the end.  I had one and it looked a lot like this!

Technically, this is not difficult — it’s just stockinette knitting.  I already have practice reading charts from trying mosaic knitting.  For me, the skills to learn are: keeping the tension loose so the fabric won’t pucker and working efficiently with two yarns at once.  I was dropping one and picking up the other at first but that was NOT sustainable, especially on that checkered stripe!!  Right now, I’m trying to hold both yarns on one finger:

Any idea of uniform tension is right out the window until I get used to it … but I guess  that’s the point, ha ha!


FO: True Blue Tesselators

After 2.5 iterations of the decorative pattern on the leg, one extra round of K, 14 rounds of 2×2 ribbing (same height as half the decorative pattern) and EZ’s sewn bind-off … ta da!

I’m very happy with the fit and I love the drama of the pattern.  If you make this sock, make sure there’s a bit of negative ease all around or the lace won’t show well.  The cool zigzag of the stitches won’t show as well either.  Here’s a pic that captures that:

As noted in earlier posts, these are a toe-up version of a cuff-down pattern called “Tesselating Lace Socks”.  The pattern is available as a free pdf download at Ravelry.  I’ve given detailed notes here on how I did the toe-up version.  I can’t wait to wear these when the weather gets cooler!

I’ve been messing with the next project too:

Sampler Notes

One of these is the ad-libbed pattern from the gauge swatch, the others are ideas for mix-and-match.  I surfed free patterns at Ravelry to get these ideas.  There’s one of songbirds which is too excellent to pass up … I didn’t write it out here, but I’m pretty sure it will be a part of this project!  I will credit whatever projects I “borrowed” from when all is said and done, though I think most of these are traditional.

Sweaterless Sleeve

I’ve already ripped this out!  I took a best guess on the number of stitches to cast on and then tried a couple of improvised patterns (the scalloping on the cuff counts).  If my guess had been good, this would be a keeper … but it wasn’t.  Using size 1 (2.25 mm) needles, I’m getting a gauge of 9.5 stitches to the inch.  Gotta add more stitches to get the desired width on this project.  I also tried it on: eek!  Too tight!  The decorative pattern looks best when it’s not stretched out and, thanks to the strands of carried yarn on the inside, the fabric is not as stretchy as plain stockinette.  All good stuff to know for planning!  The next pass will be good, I know it …

Speaking of color, an article in the paper yesterday gave a link to some FREE online software for getting a color palette out of photos. Cool!  The article also provided another link for converting the colors to commercial tints (i.e., paints you can buy at the store).  Yarn?  I dunno … yet.  The other link is .  This is EXACTLY what I was looking for when I was designing a brochure last month.  Got by without it.  NOW they tell me!

In Color!

Now there’s a phrase that marks my youth … I grew up when TV was making its transition from black-and-white to color.  Those of us who were still watching programs on an older TV would be teased by that phrase at the beginning of every show: “In color!”

Now that the True Blue Tesselators are in the home stretch, I’ve been thinking more and more about the next project.  The last two pairs of socks have focused on texture (stitch patterns) and I also recently finished two garments (shaping, with a bit of texture too).  Time for some color fun!

I was originally puzzling over the leftover yarn from Christmas but I couldn’t think of a project that I would actually wear, so that yarn has been set aside for now.  I want to experiment with stranded knitting.   So far, I’ve done slipped color knitting.  I’t s a great place to start because you only knit with one color at a time.  Now it’s time to try carrying two colors at once!  Long ago, when I was first learning, I gave it a try:


I think I had tension problems, but not too bad!

Looking at the stash, I found a whole bunch of Knit Picks Palette yarn in a variety of colors.  I bought it for sock knitting because, in my early days, I thought “fingering weight = sock yarn”.  Actually, it’s more loosely-stranded than I like for socks.  But it IS good for color knitting … heck, that’s why they named it Palette (duh)!  So, today I decided to make an “Arm Warmer Sampler”.  Kinda like socks, but less fiddley stuff and more focus on the color work.  Also, easier to show off when it’s finished!  The plan is to match the color transitions on each arm but not to repeat any decorative patterns (more sampler for your money, yeah!).  I selected the color combination this morning and have started a cuff:


The peachy-almond color will be background throughout, the other colors will be foreground, starting with the lovely purple heather. Heeey … why does this look familiar?  Ummm …


Smoky spices, anyone?   (Pic taken last December because I liked the color combination … the flavors are a knockout too!)

Heel Thyself

The heeling work has begun, but it’s not over yet:

A good look at a bottom gusset.

A good look at a bottom gusset.

This gusset is completed, but the work must be repeated for the other sock.   This is where the sock gets wider to accomodate the heel.  In this particular style, the widening happens on the bottom of the foot.  I think it’s easy and it fits very well!

You can see how the gusset fits here.

The next step is to “turn the heel” and then it will be time to start decreasing again to get a nice, snug hug on the leg.  (And yes, that’s Cat Bordhi’s sock book on the floor in the background … already scheming for the next pair of socks, ha ha!)
The stitch pattern is coming along too.

The stitch pattern is coming along too.

I bet this would make an excellent man’s sock if the yarn-overs (holes) were replaced with M1’s.  I might try it …

And … They’re Off!

The Blue Tesselators are officially off and running!

Well, figuratively … eight double-pointed needles would make actual running pretty uncomfortable!

To avoid the dreaded Second Sock Syndrome, I like to knit both socks at the same time.  This also increases the chance that I will knit both socks the same way, ha ha!  I do a lot of ad-libbing, you see.  And I have a notebook but I don’t always write things down.  But I can just jump to the other sock and do it again.  That works nicely!

The pattern is actually for cuff-down socks, so I’ll document what I’m doing fairly thoroughly.  I hope that helps anyone else who may prefer toe-up, as I do!  My feet are size 9 1/2 and it seems that when I use regular sock yarn for a mostly stockinette pattern, a 64-stitch circumference works well.  I’m using size 1 1/2 needles (2.5mm).  From what I have knit so far, this is bearing out.  (Actually, I’m wondering if knitting on size 1 needles would give a pleasant bit of extra negative ease?  Hmmm, maybe next time …)

I’m using Zwerger Garn Opal sock yarn in the evocatively-named “1269” colorway.  It’s the first time I’m using this yarn and  I was looking forward to trying it because it seems to be very popular … I was therefore somewhat disappointed as I wound the yarn into its two center-pull balls.   First, there were 5 or 6 slip-knots which meant that I had to pause 5 or 6 times to pick them out. Second, there was a knot (broken yarn)  in the middle of the hank.  It has been recommended that we knitters accept the occasional knot, and I do, it’s just a bit  more annoying when a knot arises deep in the winding process.  Finally, the last part of the ball was a tangled mess and it took 15 minutes to pull it apart by hand so I could wind it.  It’s unfair to judge a yarn brand by one experience, but I can’t help starting off badly on this one!  As far as knitting goes, it’s OK.  A little loosely-plied, but easy to get used to.  It looks very pretty when knit up and seems to show the pattern well. 

I used Judy’s Magic Cast-On for the toes.  I cast on half the desired number of stitches (I  like a fairly blunt toe), which was 32 (16 per needle).  I like to leave 2 stitches at either end of the needle when increasing.  Don’t know why, just like the way it looks!  It took 16 rounds to get the desired number of stitches and then I knit 8 more rounds without increasing.  The sock on my left foot in the picture is at this stage.

The right sock shows one iteration of the decorative pattern.  It’s interesting and yet very easy to memorize … perfect for train knitting!  I was so interested in it that I didn’t have my ticket out for the conductor on BOTH the inward and outward-bound rides yesterday, hah!  Both conductors cut me some slack.  Maybe they knit, or know some knitters …

A Toe to be Named Later

OK, technically there is still one WIP on the needles and I really shouldn’t be starting a new project (I was going to clear the needles first) … but I’m thinking of ripping it.  It was an experiment and, although it’s OK, it’s not interesting.  Same (easy) stitch over and over.  It a good yarn (alpaca-silk) and I think I’d rather use it for something else.

With the rationalization out of the way, I give you:

An unnamed toe.  Oh yes, I spent hours browsing sock patterns and I have one in mind.  But as I was knitting this up this morning, I realized: hey, there’s no commitment to a pattern until both toes are finished!  For this pair of socks, I wanted a) to use stash b) a solid color c) a color that can be put to heavy use d) an interesting but not-too-complex pattern (to memorize and work while riding the train).  The current candidate is Tesselating Lace Socks, a pattern available for free at Ravelry. 

I was also cogitatin’ on using the mixed bag of yarn that’s left over from Christmas scarves.  It’s lovely yarn in lots of colors, but I just can’t get into any of the ideas I’ve come up with yet.  Here’s a test-swatch for a new stitch pattern:

Portcullis Stitch
Portcullis Stitch

Bagheera says that this looks (and feels) a lot like crochet.  Too firm and thick to become a sweater vest.  Looks wonderful in stripes though!  Maybe it can be a scarf.  Or not … it’s already ripped!


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