Monday, July 25, 2011

Fancy Socks

Ever since May, For Yarns Sake, my closest LYS, has been doing monthly knit-a-longs.  I started the May project--don't ask--but skipped the June one.  When I heard what the July project was going to be, I just had to join again.  Per my suggestion (I don't know if they chose because of my suggestion, but I'm pretty sure I brought the pattern to the attention of the people who did the choosing) they/we are knitting Lissajous Socks by Cookie A.
Lissajous Socks
photo courtesy of Twist Collective

These beauties come in both a knee-high and standard sock length.  I'm of course doing the knee-high (look at the pretty!)  I'm enjoying working on these, though they are a bit slow-going.  There's more stitches around than a standard sock because of the calf shaping and there are 4 charts to follow at once.  It's a good thing I'm enjoying these, because as you can see, I've got a ways to go...

Why do my legs suddenly seem so much longer than usual?

I'm just over half-way through the first big chart, and I'm looking forward to the "ease" of focusing on just the cables and calf shaping for a while.


I had a small accident in which I continued to rib even though the directions clearly (maybe not that clearly) tell you to stop ribbing after 18 rows.  I was on row 33 when I realized this.  I did no rip back.  Instead, I knit to each wrong purl column and dropped the stitches down individually for 15 rows, then picked them back up the right way.  This fix-it crochet hook was extremely helpful, and made the whole process way more painless than it could have been. Look at the delicate cables.

Sorry my pictures are ass.  They were taken inside by me.  If these were finished, I'd have no trouble running around outside taking a billion pictures of my socks and thumbing my nose at anyone who thinks it's weird to take sock pictures.  However, even I draw the line at running around outside with a thin stip of sock halfway up my leg holding the attached ball of yarn in one hand, the camera in the other, and hitching up my skirt to try to get a picture that shows off my twisted stitches.  For me, that's more of an indoor activity.  Expect better pictures when/if I get these done.

The yarn I'm using is Spud and Chloe Fine.  I'm still forming an opinion about it, sometimes I love it, sometimes I'm not so sure.  I'll give a full report after I have more than 2 inches knit with it...  I want to be sure I really give it a fair chance.

I do have one question about the pattern though.... Why the *^&$ does it make you cast on, then do make-ones in the first &(*^%$# row, then, in the next row, make you use the make-ones to do &^%#@!) twisted-stitch cables?  Hmmm?  That I'd like to know.  Why not just cast on all the stitches rather than increase on the first row?  If there is a logical practical reason I may be able to accept the maddening torture that was the first two rows of this pattern.  If there is no good reason, then the only logical conclusion is that Cookie A is a mean diabolical hateful woman who secretly plots to drive sock knitters insane.  My progress on my Pomatomous would seem to suggest the latter.

Sunday, July 17, 2011

Spring Socks

Well, it seems I've fallen in to a non-blogging rut again.  I would like to be posting at least once a week, but I find it so hard to do posts about WIPs.  I like to show off FOs, it feels like an accomplishment, like a giant strike through on my to-do list.  Posting about WIPs feels like a reminder of the fact that there are things unfinished, that my life is actually cluttered and (sometimes) overwhelmingly unmanageable.  I feel like if I only show the FOs, it will at least give the impression that I have everything together all the time.  That's why I didn't post until I could show you these:


These socks were started so that I would have something to knit at the Sock Hour at my LYS.  Since they're kind enough to host the knitting event, I try to work on projects from yarn from their store or at least projects in yarn they carry (it's not hard, I have a lot of yarn from them, they have awesome selection.)  I started them back in May, and if you're in Portland, you know what our May was like this year--grey, rainy, cold, not at all like what May should be like.  When I was trying to decide what yarn to cast on with, this green practically jumped into my hand.  It was such an appealing color against the ugly weather that was showing no sign of letting up.


The yarn is from a local indie dyer StitchJones.  This yarn is her Titanium Sock yarn.  I think it will live up to it's name.  It's very tightly spun and feels like it will be very durable.  The color is called "Tempest in a Dyepot" and it varies from a light bright spring green to a deep olive-forest green.  I was unbelievably pleased that the color didn't pool in any obvious or terrible way.  Perfect variegation is extremely rare, but this is a wonderful example of how awesome hand-painted yarns can end up looking.

Ryan is an excellent sock photographer don't you think?  I told him taking good sock pictures is just one of the many reasons I love him.  His patience for my knitting photo shoots is incredibly endearing.

The pattern is from the book Knitting Socks With Hand Painted Yarns which I've owned for a long time but never got around to making anything from until now.   The premise of the book is patterns that make hand painted yarns stand out without overpowering the stitches and obscuring all the hard knitting work.
I think these socks speak for the effectiveness of the book.  The pattern I used is called Zigzag Anklets.


The socks are actually most just a plain stockinette sock.  The construction is interesting.  They are knit top-down.  First you cast on and knit the simple zig-zag lace pattern and some 1x1 ribbing.  Then you turn the sock inside out and continue in stockinette for the rest of the way.  This means that the zig-zag lace is right-side-out when it folded down.  I love the retro bobby-sock look of these, though I doubt you'd find any bobby-socks in acid green (until now.)


There are only a few things I would change about this pattern.  First, it tells you to knit the body of the sock on US 2 needles.  I did, and I got the right gauge, but they are a bit loose for me--not loose fitting, I mean the gauge feels loose.  I think I would cast on a few more stitches and knit them on US 1s instead.  I tend to like a tight gauge for my socks though, I think some of my socks can stand on their own.  I feel like it makes them more long-wearing, not sure if that's really true.  I've only had one pair of socks wear through, and they were knit on US 1.5s so who knows...  The other thing is strangely picky but since I'm griping about 1/4 millimeter differences in needle size, it seems fitting.  The decreases on the gusset go "the wrong way."  I like a k2tog on the right and an SSK on the left.  This pattern reverses them.  I followed the pattern as written, "just to see" and I don't like it.  It's not as graceful.  It does make the gusset line less noticeable though, so maybe that's what the designer was going for.

I've already cast on my next pair of socks (they are a doozy) and maybe I will even show them to you before they are finished.

Saturday, July 2, 2011

Oh Hi

Oh Hi blog.  How are you?  It's been a while... I started a new Job at the beginning of June and I can't believe I've been there a month now.  waking up at 6:45 every morning is not fun, but the job is good and the work can be fun.  The real reason I've been derelict in my posting is because I moved in the last two weeks of June and I'm still trying to settle into my new place.  The packing up and getting out of the old place wasn't so bad, I had lots of help from Ryan and Adam.  It's the unpacking and trying to get the new place set back up that's killing me.  Have to find a new place for everything, have to figure out how this place wants to be set up, ugh.

I did finish a knitting project in the midst of all the tumult.  A friend of mine got married last weekend, and the invitation suggested that "cocktail attire" would be most appropriate... So I went shopping, found a dress, found some shoes, found some earrings, and a necklace.  The dress was strapless, the wedding was in the evening, and the "summer" that Portland has been dishing up lately hasn't been very warm.  This was my solution:


The pattern is Lacy Hug Me Tight from the Knit2Together book.  I managed to finish it in just under a month (and on the night before the wedding.)

The pattern is exceedingly boring to knit.  First you knit a giant block of 2x2 ribbing, 21" worth of ribbing to be exact.  Then you knit three strips of lace, two to go around the sleeves and one to go around the body.  The strips are about 20 stitches wide.  The lace is not charted, so you either have to chart it yourself (which I did after the first repeat) or try to follow written lace instructions.  Then you fold the body and add a little seam.  Then you sew the strips of lace around the edges.  It's a lot of finishing work.  I do like the result though.


At the wedding there was a sort of photo booth set up and everyone there got the password to access the photos.  The company is located in WA but I guess they do shoots in Portland too.  I'm holding a cardboard cut out top hat and Ryan is holding cardboard bright red lips.

The yarn is Elsebeth Lavold Hempathy.  41% Cotton, 34% Hemp, and 25% Modal.  I love the finished project, but this yarn is hell to work with.  It's so rough on your hands, there is no give at all, it's not at all soft before it's washed.  After it's washed it blooms like mad and becomes super drape-y and soft.


Here's the back view.  Excuse the wet hair.  I thought it might be a bad idea to ask the professional wedding photographer to focus on the knitwear rather than the wedding guests...  And a close up of the sleeve lace:


I focused my knitting attention on this pretty exclusively to get it done in time for the wedding and now I'm feeling the backlash in the form of some major knitting ADD.  I can't settle down to any one project I do a few stitches on one a few on another.  I'm super tempted to start something new but I'm trying to finish my old project.  I have a few that have been lingering for far too long.  I'm working on the finish two to start one system.  Now that this is finished I have to finish one more before I can cast something else on.