Thursday, February 25, 2016

K'done: Bonus socks

These were done ages ago!

Pattern: none, I just winged it
Yarn: leftover Knit Picks Stroll, colourway names now long forgotten
Needles: 2.25 mm / US 1

No, seriously - according to my Rav project notes, I finished these at the end of October 2015. I just never got around to taking halfway decent pictures of them until today.

These socks were something of an experiment for me. See, my sock drawer is at this moment filled exclusively with handknit socks, made by me. Which I like rather a lot, certainly much more than I thought I would when I set out to knit my very first pair of socks, which have since shrunk and are no longer serviceable. But that's okay - obviously, I've made more since then. Back in 2008 (I think), I had managed to create a fairly decent collection for myself, but still needed to supplement the handknit socks with some commercially made ones to avoid needing to do laundry like clockwork every 7 days. So when an online store had a one-day sale on some SmartWool socks, I snagged three pair. I wore them a lot, and quite liked them, and as the months and years wore on, I found I was wearing them less and less as my sock drawer got increasingly comfortably full of handknit socks. Which was just as well, because the soles were starting to look a bit threadbare - no holes, but there are spots where the wool content is basically gone, and the sock's integrity is maintained by a mesh of the remaining nylon. It occurred to me that these perfectly serviceable but no longer visually appealing socks would be good to use as gym socks, and I made it so. When we moved, I kept the socks in the little bag I used to carry my stuff to and from the gym, to be sure that they wouldn't be separated from each other and thus ready to be pressed back into service after the move.

Well, now I can't find that bag. I haven't completely searched through the shocking volume of stuff that is down in the basement, but unpacking all the stuff that seemed to matter did not produce the little bag with those socks in them. I could have taken the easy way out and said, Oh no, I can't find my gym bag, guess I can't go to the gym! Instead, I rooted around a little and found an alternate bag to use as a gym bag, and started packing older pairs of handknit socks into it for use during my little elliptical bursts of activity.

Even though those socks were old, it still seemed somehow odd to be encasing my feet in cables or lace, and then ramming them into sneakers in the pursuit of exercise. My first thought was to knit some new, plain stockinette socks to use as gym socks, but it seemed somehow overly indulgent to use a precious stashed skein of sock yarn for socks that wouldn't get shown off.

And then I remembered my bag of remnant sock yarn - the leftovers from previous pairs. My feet aren't that big, so there's usually a fair bit of yarn left over at the end. Not enough to do a second pair of socks, unless I'm willing to accept leg-less socks, which I'm not. But what if I were to go through the remnant stash and pair some of those remnants together, working the socks up with stripes? So I went digging, and came out with three possible combinations - yarns that I wasn't terribly interested in using again for anything else, and decided to give it a try.

These socks are the result of the first pairing. The vivid green combined with the wildly variegated is a bit brighter than I would usually go for, but hey, I'm just using up leftovers to get some plainish socks that I won't feel bad about abusing slightly.

Tech specs: these were worked top-down over 64 stitches, starting with a double-knot CO. I worked 12 rounds of k2 p2 ribbing in my main colour (the variegated one), then switched to stockinette and added the contrast colour (the green). I then worked 4-round stripes until I had a leg length I was okay with - honestly, I'd be happier if they were a touch taller, but I wasn't sure how far my yarn would go, so I played it safe. After the last contrast colour stripe, I worked two rounds of main colour, then worked the heel flap with an eye-of-partridge slipped stitch pattern. After the heel turn, I worked two more rounds of main colour, picking up stitches from the heel flap along the way - thus making the main colour stripe on the foot 4 rounds wide - and then resumed working stripes with the contrast colour. The striping made it easy to count 'repeats' to make the leg and foot length match on both socks, but I misread my knitting from the first sock when setting up the heel turn for the second, so there's one less set of gusset decreases on the second sock. I placed my heel flap so that the carried yarns were positioned on the side of the leg and foot, so that I wouldn't need to cut, so there weren't that many ends to weave in - four in total per sock.

I am a little more than half way through a second pair of bonus socks, but I've sort of lost steam on the idea - maybe because I've stopped going to the gym this semester. Oh well. They'll get done, eventually.

Tuesday, February 23, 2016

Rapt contemplation

The pieces of Big Blue are all finally blocked and dry, and I am now considering doing the seaming.

It's a pretty big job. There are five pieces, all knitted flat - two fronts, two sleeves, one back - which means I've got to attach fronts to the back, do side seams, and do sleeve seams. And then there's the collar extensions - those also have to be attached to the back neckline, and then attached to each other at the centre.

There are many, many video resources out there that will teach you how to make a nice seam happen, so I'm quite sure you don't need me to show you what I do, but I would like to take a moment to say that removable stitch markers are your friends. Perhaps obviously, I use them to put the pieces together the way I want them to be as I sew them up. They help me avoid that thing where you get to the end of your seam and one of your pieces still has an extra inch of fabric hanging off the end.

That being said, I've just realized that that second photo has a problem - the way I've pinned the collar extensions together is a bit misleading. The collar will fold over, so if I want the nice invisible side of the seam to show, I'll have to flip the piece over so that my mattress stitch pushes the selvedge stitches to the side that is facing up in the pic - that's the side that will be hidden in the folding over of the collar. If I do the mattress stitch with the pieces laying exactly as they are here, then I'll end up with a line of selvedge stitches showing down the centre of the folded collar when the sweater is being worn - no good.

In other news, I've been thinking about my Oblique cardi conundrum, and I pulled out all the yarn and existing bits and looked at them, and I've decided to push forward. I just keep telling myself that if I got a cardi with blanket style fronts and full length sleeves out of a batch of yarn the same size, I should be able to get a v-necked cardi with 3/4 length sleeves, even if the fronts have a bit of wrap to them.

We'll see if I'm right.

Wednesday, February 17, 2016

K'done: Boomerang cowl


Pattern: Boomerang Cowl, by MollyGirl Yarn
Yarn: madelinetosh tosh dk, in a one-off red
Needles: 5 mm / US 8

I sort of lurk around the Cowls group on Rav, and they do cowl-of-the-month knitalongs that I've been sort of watching for the past year or so - somehow, I just never got around to joining in before. This January, though, I took the plunge, and this cowl was the result. A quick, fun, satisfying knit.

I suppose, if you look at it just right, that the lace motif looks a bit like boomerangs? It's actually called fishscale lace, but I suppose Boomerang cowl has a nicer ring to it than Fishscale cowl. Although, every time I think of the word fishscale now, I flash back to Gang Related, and I hear Cliff Curtis saying it in his faux Mexican Spanish accent. And while I enjoyed the show, I do sort of wonder why they cast a part Maori New Zealander as a Mexican drug cartel boss. Sort of like how I wonder a bit about why Narcos cast Brazilian Wagner Moura to play Colombian drug lord Pablo Escobar.

But anyway.

I fiddled with the pattern a bit - I didn't do the ribbing, but instead just put in a couple of rounds of garter stitch for edging. The less substantial edging means that the overall piece is more prone to give in to the will of the fabric - the way the decreases and increases are arranged, the fabric wants to pull in in certain places, so the edge no longer sits straight. My bound off edge is straighter than my cast on edge, and though I tried to block that cast on edge as straight as I could without any wires or support mechanisms, it's still got a bit of a wave to it. But that's okay.

Once I got the fishscale lace in my head, I didn't consult the pattern anymore, so I'm not sure how many repeats of the lace it tells you to do. I managed to squeeze in eight, and used up almost all of my skein - I'm not great at visual estimation of length or distance, and I'm too lazy at this moment to fetch up a tape measure, but I'd say there's about a single metre of yarn left.

Tech specs: Chinese waitress CO, double-chain BO.

Tuesday, February 16, 2016

Fickle dee dee

So I've been working on a sweater for a little while.

Boom! That's a complete body and a good chunk of the first sleeve. I can see myself actually wearing a new sweater in the not-too-distant future!

Except. I've sort of been distracted a bit by this bit of stranded business:

That there is the very barest beginnings of an Inspira Cowl, Steampunk version (written for fingering weight yarn). I'm just cobbling together some leftover sock yarn, and I'm honestly not sure how deep my cowl is going to end up being.

Just a couple of things I've been plugging away on. Plus, I'm planning on doing some blocking this week, which will lead to a seaming extravaganza for my sister's big blue sweater, after which that thing will be off my conscience for good.

Speaking of which, I suppose there's no reason I shouldn't get one of the pieces blocking right now.

Thursday, February 11, 2016


At least, that's what I hope to have in the near future, after having spent a large amount of my time over the past month or so in the noble pursuit of career advancement. (Unfortunately, I won't know for a little while if my efforts will bear fruit.) I have another thing or two to wrap up for work stuff, and then I have a great big knitterly plan. Not like the delusional list I came up with last year of Things I Will Knit This Summer, many of which never came to pass. I think my new plan is much more reasonable, and feasible, and I am rather unreasonably excited about it.

I missed the good light for the day, so no pictures, but my latest sweater is nearing the point of body completion, which means it will soon be time to contemplate the sleeves. Sleeves are a bit of a crapshoot with me - sometimes I get them done quickly, other times they're the reason the project sort of languishes in my unfinished pile for ages. I'm pretty motivated to have the finished sweater in this case, so maybe that means the sleeves will move quickly. Maybe.

I make no promises.