Tuesday, January 31, 2006

Am I in trouble?

I went ahead and committed to teaching a sock-making class at my local LYS. Le Stitch here in Bonita is under new management and I decided to give it a try. Looks like early March will be my teaching debut!

Small indispensible notebook

There was a discussion on one of the lists about keeping track of projects, specifically socks. If you do one at a time, how do you get them to be the same? More to the point, how the heck do you remember what you did on the first sock? Even if I do them one right after the other, I forget.

Here is my solution. This little notebook comes with my knitting wherever it goes. Not only do I jot down stitch and row counts, I also put a photo on a sticker and put it in there. It's not to really see the project, but more as a visual reminder of which socks I'm referring to.

I started this when I first ventured into socks. I used all kinds of yarns and played around with number of stitches and different heels. This is how I decided I needed many more Sockotta socks. The 2 pair I had were over 2 years old and got a lot of wear. Still looked good and felt comfy. I went back to my notes and duplicated them. I've also written notes about how some didn't work out as well as I thought, especially if I have to rework something. I like to think I learn from my mistakes.

Any small notebook will do. The key was to have with a hard binding to take the abuse of being carried around everywhere. I've been using this one for 3 years.

Knitpicks Dancing Yarn

Similar to Sockotta (45% cotton, 40% wool, 15% nylon) , this yarn line from Knitpicks called Dancing is 41% cotton, 39% wool, 13% nylon and 7% elastic. It's also a tad thinner than Sockotta. Instead of using size 2 (2.75 mm) for the cuff and size 1 (2.25 mm) for the foot, I used an Addi size 1 (2.5 mm) and a 0 (2.0 mm) for the foot. Instead of the 60 stitches I use for the Sockotta, I worked these with 64. Dancing comes in two 50 gram balls. I made these with an 8" cuff and long enough for my size 9 1/2 feet. I still had 25 grams of my second skein left over. Each 50 gram skein is 253 yards.

This color is called "Ballet"

Wednesday, January 25, 2006

Mail order goodies

When we got back from having a much deserved beer after walking the golf course for 6 hours [did I mention we were up at 5:30 am to get an early start?], the UPS man left a box with some goodies. I am still determined to conquer lace. There are some lacey socks I should start with.

Take a good look at the Circular Solution. I really should not have been lazy and sewn up my own. It works great, but whoever preprinted the metric needle sizes really had no clue in the smaller sizes. It looks kind of tacky with my Sharpie corrections. But my 46 circular needles fit easily with room for more. I will still try to sew my own for my Addi Flex straights

Fuzzy Tiger

Today, the man and I went to the Buick Invitational golf tournament at Torrey Pines. We've been going for the past several years, weather permitting. This time we tried the Pro-Am event because you can bring cameras. Not that it did me much good. Trying to take photo quickly, leads to fuzzy effort.

The funniest group was with amateur local TV newscasters Rod Luck and Jeff Cawley. When those guys yell, "Fore!" you better duck.

Tuesday, January 17, 2006

What can't I stop starting new projects?

A friend had some Addi metal double points in size 1, which means 2.5 mm in Addi-speak. A size I did not have. She didn't care for them. Money changed hands and they are mine! To break them in, I started yet another pair of socks. This time from Knitpicks Dancing yarn. It's cotton, wool, nylon with some elastic thrown in. There's no photo right now because it's misbehaving. I experimented with a round toe, but didn't like it for this sock. Plus, I made it a bit short. So, this morning by a sunny window, I picked out the tip and ripped back to add a bit, then do a standard toe.

Thanks to Heather Broadhurst, I decided to try her Topless Mitts, made from left over sock yarn. Did one last night while watching Golden Globes and a PBS documentary on Eleanor Roosevelt, using the new Addi DPNs. The pattern calls for more thumb and finger length, but I want to knit in these puppies. Cast on second mitt.

I know I live in San Diego, but it's a frigid daytime 62 degrees out. Don't laugh! The insulation in my old house sucks and is non existent in the converted garage/family room where I spend my evenings knitting under an electric blanket. My wall thermometer in there read 55 last night.

Knitting quietly away

I finished one pair of Sockotta socks. This one is color #10.

Did the garter stitch heel and toe. I kept the row and stitch counts the same as for the Sockotta stripes recently finished, but this pair's cuff seemed shorter. Had more than usual left over, so will have to rethink the idea of doing them all the same.

I took some time to attempt lace. Much frustration later, I have set it aside. Got some needles and Meg Swanson's A Gathering of Lace on order. Will try a different shawl pattern. I figured I was having trouble with the motif on the swatch, so there was no way I was going to do a shawl that begins with casting on 431 stitches. Messing up one row would kill me!

Sunday, January 08, 2006

I declare the sock monster done

I finished the 10th heel last night and decided it was done. It was getting too hard to try the thing on. I put in one row of pink at the end to note which end to stick my foot for the toe up variations.

I started out on 64 stitches using undyed Knitpicks Dye Your Own merino in fingering weight. 10 rows of 1x1 ribbing, then an inch of st st before doing the 1st heel. After the heel, another inch of st st, 3 rows of garter, then 1 inch st st..... and so on. After last heel and st st, I did another 10 rows of ribbing and bound off with Elizabeth Zimmermann's sewn bind off, as I find it the stretchiest.

It started as a workshop project then I added in other heels I had instructions for. 9 out of 10 are workable. I still have to play around with the last one, the Strong heel from Knitter's Fall 2003. I thought it would be too big right from the start since you increase from 16 to 30 stitches on each side of the heel, then decrease back down to 16. I was thinking of trying again with the proportions I use on a regular heel flap [an additional 9 stitches on each half of the heel, then back down]

The heels I included are from the top:
Round heel
Dutch or Band heel
Toe-up heel flap [Schurch]
You're Putting Me On toe-up heel flap by Judy Gibson
Short row heel with double wraps [Schurch/Wendy Johnson]
Half Handkerchief
Garter Stitch Short Row [Neatby]
Priscilla Gibson Roberts Short row heel
Shaped Common Heel
Strong Heel as mentioned above

My house guest

Flat Will, a cousin to the famous Flat Stanley, is visiting me from Kentucky.

My nephew's 2nd grade son [making me a great-aunt and being entirely too weird to contemplate] sent him to me to stay for a week. It's a class project where they map out the travels and discuss the adventures of their paper dolls.

I'm having a lot of fun with him. I took him to see the Pacific Ocean, the Hotel Del, then over to MCRD to see where his dad went to boot camp. My daughter took him to Sea World, then to her job at a Tanning Salon. Before he leaves town, he'll come with us to the zoo to see the baby giant panda. I've chronicled his vacation in photos to send to the class. I sent this picture as a postcard to let them know he arrived safely.

Ah, the joys of being an auntie....

Wednesday, January 04, 2006

Knitting on the bus

Yesterday, The Man and I went on a bus tour up to Pasedena to see the floats of the Tournament of Roses Parade. That's me in the striped shirt looking back at him. Between us we took over 360 photos. We had never done this before and it was unbelievable. If any of you can make the trip to see the floats it's well worth it. We got to see all 48 of them up close. Way better than on TV. By the time we left at 1 pm, there were many more people, but even so, rather orderly and you could linger as long as you like by each float. Bring walking shoes and extra camera batteries. Extra camera card if you have one, too. Even with the rain on the parade, the floats were in remarkable condition.

I knitted on the way up and back. I had 5 skeins Cascade 220 Tweed purchased on sale and figured I'd experiment with a vest. But as I snuggle around the house with my wool shawls, the charcoal gray yarn with beige flecks demanded to be transformed into a shawl that would get a whole lot more use than a vest, no matter how cute. I favor triangle shaped shawls, but did not start with a point to dangle below my butt. I cast on 40 stitches to blunt the tip. Just a plain ol' 2x2 moss stitch with a garter stitch border. Reversible and solid to keep me toasty in my converted garage family room which is uninsulated and unheated. Reminds me of my days living in Spain.

I got a Knitpicks order and wound the skeins into balls this morning. Some Dancing and Essential sock yarns, some Merino dye your own, and 5 skeins of the lace weight alpaca in pale pink. I was going to make my 1st lace weight shawl in black, but workshop instructor suggested a lighter color. Then I got to thinking about the upcoming wedding. If it works out well, it may end up as the focal point of the mother of the bride outfit. Will be ready for class on Friday with a swatch.