Monday, February 28, 2011

K'done: Herringbone Rib Socks

The SSP is officially back on track!

Pattern: Herringbone Rib Socks, by Kristi Schueler
Yarn: Knit Picks Stroll Tonal, in Foliage
Needles: 2.75 mm / US 2

I initially cast on for these using 2.25 mm / US 1 needles, but the herringbone rib portion is really not that elastic, and after getting about halfway down the leg on the first sock, I started having very real concerns about whether I would end up with a sock that fit. I decided it needed to be ripped back and worked on bigger needles, which made me think that with the delay in starting these socks due to the late finish on January's socks, and with February being a short month, I was well on my way to getting off target for the Selfish Sock Project. Luckily, Reading Week in February meant a week of working from home, which meant more knitting time, since working from home really means thesis work, which goes rather well with knitting - just when I think I'm about to burst with fury at the blinking cursor on the screen, or the awkward chunk of text that refuses to be reshaped into something more elegant, I grab yarn and needles and a short while later everything's fine. Sometimes I've even come up with a solution to my thesising problem.

Anyway. I probably could have knit this as written on the larger needles, but I like to knit my socks with 5 DPNs - four holding stitches, one working. This makes having three pattern repeats on one side is a bit awkward, so I kept my previous mods that I had put in: sock worked over 64 stitches - four herringbone rib panels, flanked on each side by two purls and a twisted knit. The heel is your standard slipped-stitch heel flap, worked over 32 stitches in the round with purled gussets. That's right, no picking up for me.

If I were to do this one again - and I might, I didn't find all the passing of stitches that tedious - the one change I'd make is to twist the yarnovers when transitioning from the herringbone rib pattern to stockinette for the toe and when beginning the heel flap. Because of the herringbone rib, the eyelet isn't that obvious - certainly not worth tearing apart two socks to repair - but for future reference, I think I'd rather it weren't there at all.

I had initially planned to wear these socks tomorrow, given that tomorrow is the start of a new month, but since I'm working from home today and have time while the sun is out to take the pictures, I knew I'd be modelling them today, so figured I might as well wear them today too.

Meanwhile, the yarn for March's socks is all wound up and ready to go.

Saturday, February 26, 2011

Getting ready

The February SSP socks now look like this:

That's one complete sock that needs only the toe Kitchenered and the ends woven in, and a second sock that is about a third of the way into the foot. I expect that what's left of that second sock will be fairly quick, as the sole is stockinette - zoom! - and then the rounds get progressively shorter as I do the toe decreases - zoom zoom!

Given that today is 26 February, this makes me rather confident that these socks will be done within their allotted month. Back on track!

Which means I'm starting to think about March's socks. I've got the pattern picked out: Rainy Day Socks, adapted for fingering weight yarn and to be knit over 64 sts on 2.25 mm / US 1 needles. And by adapted, I mean that I know I want to knit the sock over 64 sts, and have done a bit of tweaking to the 6 stitch pattern repeat to make it work nicely over 8 sts instead - simply changing the k1 at each edge of the repeat to a k2, so the ribs between the lace columns will be a bit wider, that's all.

And I've selected the yarn:

This dark, purple yarn should be just about perfect - I find that dark yarns tend to obscure stitch patterns, so this simple lace and rib combo should turn out well with this yarn. I'll see about winding this up in the next couple of days - maybe today, maybe tomorrow.

Monday, February 21, 2011

K'done: Wurm Hat

Hats are quick knits, but not as quick as I had been hoping.

Pattern: Wurm, by katushika
Yarn: Knit Picks City Tweed HW, in Cottontail
Needles: 5 mm / US 8

I have four knit hats in my closet - two are actually the same hat but in different colours - but I never wear any of them, because I don't like the way they look on me. I think they kind of make me look like I have a mushroom for a head. I don't really want to look like a mushroom, so I don't bother grabbing a hat on my way out the door. This wouldn't be an issue if I lived somewhere where the winter climate isn't very harsh.

I, however, live in Alberta, Canada. This land is not exactly known for its balmy winters.

I'd been sort of toughing it out hatless this winter, but then the temperature plummeted to -20 C, -27 C with windchill, and I realized that pretending I didn't need a hat was just a stupid plan. I really should have a hat that I will happily wear to keep my head warm, and there are tons of hat patterns out there, so I should just buckle down and find one that works.

And then the Yarn Harlot Stephanie Pearl-McPhee blogged about her woes in finding hats that look good, and posted photos of her new hat - the Wurm. And I saw that and thought, Well maybe that will work for my noggin too?

So I dug out some leftover yarn, some DPNs, and cast on, thinking that I could probably wing this out in one night. Ha! Maybe if I had had four or five hours of uninterrupted knitting time, that might have been possible. Instead, I kept having to put it down to get up and do stuff, like make dinner, eat dinner, sleep, wash myself, go to work, and all those other nuisance things. So it took three days instead of one.

Now, it is done, but not blocked, in part because I want to be able to wear it right away, in spite of not leaving the house either yesterday or today - guess I could have blocked it after all - but also because I'm not terribly sure how to block this sucker. I guess I'll have to figure it out when it gets its first wash.

Very nice pattern, though making the brim has a letdown moment at the end because you knit and knit and knit, and then you purl a round, then you knit knit knit some more, then you do a round of slightly fiddly tacking into place, and then when you are all satisfied and proud of yourself because you've reached a milestone in the pattern - you don't have as much hat as you think you should have, because it's all folded in on itself. I also couldn't get as tight of a fastening off of the remaining stitches at the end as I would have liked, because there were so many of them! If I were to do this one again, I might add another round of decreases.

In the meantime, though, I have a hat! My head will be warm(er) from now on!

Well, for the remainder of this winter, at any rate.

Monday, February 14, 2011

K'done: Early Spring Socks

The January SSP socks, done a wee bit behind schedule.

Pattern: Early Spring, by Janice Kang
Yarn: Knit Picks Stroll Kettle Dyed Sock, in Wine
Needles: 2.25 mm / US 1

This pattern gets major points for including a gusseted heel that does not involve picking up stitches - I have an allergy to picking up stitches on socks, since they're small, so finding the right loops is a bit fiddly, and you end up with DPNs sort of pointing in a million different directions, so if I can avoid it I will. I used to avoid it by doing short row heels - but now that I've tried a few new gusset constructions that avoid the picking up bit, I can admit that gusseted heels actually fit my foot better. Now I can do them both toe up and top down - big yay!

I can't say what exactly made me think that the lace pattern would be stretchy, but I did, and it really isn't. That's probably what one should expect when one has to p3tog. So getting the sock on and off is a bit closer than I was anticipating. It's totally doable, but I was pretty nervous putting the first sock on when it was off the needles. Also, those p3togs leave little dimples in my leg and foot after I've worn the sock for a bit! They're completely comfortable on - I don't notice any squeezing or pressure points - but take the socks off, and looky there, a funny speckled pattern in my skin!

There is one small error in one sock - on the heel flap, I got into the wrong swing of sl 1, k1, and so the pattern sort of switches to eye of partridge for one row, then back to regular old heel stitch again. I noticed it many rows later, and determined that it wasn't worth ripping back to fix it. I stand by that judgment.

By the way? It is ridiculously difficult to take pictures of your own feet that actually look good. So many of mine end up looking like I have a couple of oars attached to my ankles. This window frame pose may become a recurring thing. Except maybe next time I'll figure a way to get the pullstring out of the shot.