Friday, April 23, 2010

I love kid socks

I think this is the fastest pair of socks I've ever finished: 9 days. He loves them, and while I was knitting on them yesterday and showing him my progress, he asked me to finish them (1' of cuff ribbing in contrast color) so he could wear them today. I had to weave in a number of ends, but it felt great to lay down the pair on the chair by his bed at the end of the evening!

The yarn is from my friend Rabbitch, and I got it from her at Stitches West this year (along with some other riches). I made a full pair of socks for me, and G asked for a pair "just like yours"--except not: without the patterning, just a generic sock but in the same yarn. Fortunately, the skein was a generous 430 yards, so even after finishing the pair, I have several yards left over. I had thought to knit up the calf as far as I could go and then finish off with the grey, but once I got as high as it was, G said that was long enough.

I used the toe-up sock with heel flap pattern from Charlene Schurch's first "Sensational Knitted Socks" book, which is a little Chinese-menu-ish (For XX stitches, do this; for YY stitches, this; etc.), but most of it is pretty straightforward. The transition from the heel flap to the gusset stitches was a little challenging, as it required switching the yarn and then picking up stitches in an order different from theirs (as theirs didn't have contrast heels), but it worked out.

I also got to finally implement an idea that's been bumping around my head for a while: the use of a marked poker chip to keep track of sock-toe increases and of heel decreases. I started using it on the first sock's heel, so I marked one side "K" and the other "dec" with little pieces of sticky notes. Then, when I was on a "K around" side, I had the "K" side up, and as I got to the back of the heel, I just flipped it over. This way, when I got to the other side, I could just glance over and know that this was a dec round--and not end up with extra, undecreased stitches on one side and not on the other, which always seems to happen.

I used it again when I started the (patch) toe for the second sock: one round has M1 on the 2nd stitch in from the edge, all around; the other round is just a K round. It meant that the increases were even, rather than ending with 12 stitches on all needles but one, which had 9 or 10 (this always seems to happen, too). I love this new method. And when I walk away, or knock it off, I can carefully study my knitting to know which side to put up, and then don't really have to think much for the rest of the toe (or heel).

Oh, here's my socks from the same yarn. The bottoms of the soles are the same pattern as his. I love the pseudo-stripiness. The yarn is between an aqua and a teal, if the color seems a little turquoisey. They're called "Percy Jackson socks" because the pattern is Poseidon by Elinor Brown. If you don't fully get the reference, read "The Lightning Thief" by Rick Riordan.
Percy Jackson socks

Monday, February 22, 2010

Long time, no writing about knitting

I've decided to start up writing about my knitting again, rather than publish 140-character comments.

I'm currently working on Alice Starmore's "Henry VIII" from "Tudor Roses," and it is a challenge... but apparently one I'm up to. I'm on row 30, which is great except when you realize I need to be past row 64 and well into the second set of 64 rows for the Knitting Olympics/Ravelympics. Well, at least it all looks good, and the worst mistake I've done lately is to knit two 10-stitch sections wrong, an action that was easily undone in the next time around.

Henry, row 30

The body is steeked (I didn't end up including it in the photo) so as to make a cardigan, and the openings for the arms will be steeked soon, in the second repeat of 64 stitches, I think. I made a tea cozy for me with steeks to give myself some practice. (No whiskey needed.)

Next on my queue is a smart scarf for G's teacher, for an end-of-the-year gift. I've chosen my Rowan Wool-cotton for it that I got on some sale or other. It's a sort of steel blue.

Coming up are some more fingerless mitts for my mom, who suffers from Reynaud's syndrome. Her fingertips go completely white sometimes. My theory is that if I can warm the pulse, the warm blood might help avoid some of the Reynaud's. I have a silk/wool size S sweater I'm going to unravel, retwist, and knit with.

And then, another sweater. I got some nearly-kelly-green yarn from Herrschner's in a bumpy, tweedy blend. I'm hoping it'll do nicely for a Rosemary's Swing Jacket.

I could go back and list the projects I've done since I last blogged, but I'm choosing to move forward on this. I'll try to update on projects and thoughts for the future. For now, I'm really enjoying what I am working on.