Friday, July 8, 2011

Diagonal Rib Socks

I love knitting when traveling. I don't always do it, and every time there's the threat of security taking away your needles, but it is really rewarding to use that time for something I like. Instead of seething that the plane isn't taking off on time, I was turning the heel on the first of these socks. These socks will always be the ones I made while traveling to and from Italy for my first season of field work as a graduate students. Which I like.

I first cast on as written for the Diagonal Cross-Rib Socks pattern in Interweave Knits' 25 Favorite Sock Patterns, but that led to some pooling of the yarn. I switched it up and CO 64 (a more regular number than the original 70, which was for man-feet) in a 6x2 rib. This allowed me to use the strategy given in Favorite Socks without being a slave to the sizing.

In fact, as it turned out, these are the best-fitting socks right off the needles that I've made. The first socks-for-me that I made are like slippers to me now because they fit over at least one thick winter pair. They are definitely not for wearing out of the house. Then I made a pair that were absurdly small and had to frog them. These other socks were made in the 2010-2011 break of the blog, so I'll link up pictures if I backlog, but for right now, use your imagination.

Overall, I'm quite please with the yarn - Knit Picks Stroll Tonal - although I don't know how it will stand up to wear at this point. The sock pattern used a basic heel flap and toe closure, which are fine with me. I need to make sure I've got the basics down before I start doing different heels and toes willy-nilly. The one thing I contstantly frustrate myself with is correctly gauging how tight a cast-on needs to be for socks. Obviously, it can't be too tight, or the sock will never fit over your heel. But the past couple have been a little too loose and change the shape of the leg. I think it will just be a matter of finding the perfect medium through trial and error.

Monday, November 8, 2010

Almeara Gloves

This is the second iteration of this Jared Flood pattern that I've made. The first was given to my mom for Christmas 2009. They fit so nicely that I made a new pair for myself in red. Once again, I used Knit Picks City Tweed DK. This yarn is not great for gloves. Maybe it would have helped to knit it at a tighter gauge or to use a thicker yarn, but it's flattening out and pilling up quickly. On the up side, the red gloves look great with my black and white patterned winter coat!

Something to work on in the future for me will be sewing in the ends of fingers on gloves. There are usually holes where the fingers connect to the body of the glove, and I'm not sure what can be done to solve this problem. It is not that harmful functionally, but I'm a bit of a perfectionist and I'd like to be able to spread my hand out without feeling like the fabric is giving way.

Monday, August 23, 2010

Granny Square Blanket

At some point in the past few years (probably when she moved into her new house), my mother gave me a big shoebox full of her old needlepoint tapestry yarns. Of the crafts I do, needlepoint is not one, so this left me with a yarny conundrum. What do I do with hundreds of yards of (kinda crappy) yarn in a million different colors? Some of it I used for a Christmas-themed scarf in a 1x1 rib. I'm fairly certain I was working on this during a business trip to Dallas, which felt a little funny. Knitting a winter scarf in a place that only goes down to the 50s or 60s in January is pretty ridiculous.
The strategy was to always have green and red stripes, but to alternate which one ended its skein. So at any visible break point, the opposite color is still continuous. There were a variety of greens and reds to choose from, so this wasn't too difficult. All of the skeins were 40 yds - I suppose if I wanted to, I could then figure out the yardage that went into this scarf, but I don't care that much. It's about 6" wide and 70" long and after a bath in a some Eucalan wool wash and a little extra conditioner thrown in, it's quite nice. Again, since it's scratchy yarn, you wouldn't want to make an against-the-skin sweater with it, but for a decorative accessory, it's fine.

Still, that left me with dozens of these little mini-skeins. The next thing that occurred to me was to use them to make granny squares. I looked up a great series of videos on YouTube that helped me learn how to crochet them, and made a plan for how best to use the yarn. I selected 6 colors without any thought to coordination or matching and made the first square, then for the next, I shifted each color in towards the center by one space and added a new color to the outside. This way, each square was a little different and I didn't have to worry too much about having the right amount of any given color. I did try to vary the value of colors, so there wouldn't be more than a few pastels or bolds or darks in a row. Towards the end, I had to start reusing the ends and get a little creative with combinations that would allow me to use the most yardage possible, but I ended up with 52 squares.

The biggest rectangle I could make with those was a 6x8 blanket with a total size of about 4'x4'. It's good for the foot of the bed or on the couch, even though it won't cover your whole body. Wool in this form is amazing because the holes mean that it breathes like crazy, but amazingly it still traps a lot of heat. My local yarn store supplied some Nature Spun Sport in a lovely teal for me to slip stitch the squares into rows and the rows into a blanket. Then I did one border round to hold everything together.

I've been thinking that aestetically, I might want to go back and add a couple more rounds to the outside. The picture makes the blanket look much more asymmetrical than it is in person. Can you spot where there are clusters of related squares?

Saturday, July 10, 2010

Gloves for my Aunt

When I got Selbuvotter for Christmas, I was all excited and asked my family to look in it to see if they liked any of the patterns enough to ask me to make them as a gift. This seemed like a good idea at the time. Of course, I was over-excited about it, and people probably asked me to make them things that they wouldn't otherwise want. Nevertheless, I made these gloves after having learned a thing or two during the Christmas gift-extravaganza of 2009.

Pretty nice, no? This is before blocking, right after I finished them (while at work at 3am at my overnight job.) I've since left, and I will tell you what: while it may seem like a great idea to be able to knit between customer service phone calls since you're at a night job anyways, it's not worth the stress of working. Here's a lovely co-worker of mine modeling the gloves:

So, I suppose for a small-handed woman they're a bit large, but I'm fairly certain that EZ and YarnHarlot agree that there's nothing worse than a too-tight mitten or glove. Anyhow, the colors are a dark grey and white in Palette from Knit Picks. The pattern from Selbuvotter is Annemor #8. I like how the rose motif is in both the hand and wrist and the thistle is in the hand and fingers. It's a very connected pattern.

Wednesday, March 10, 2010

Ode to Selbuvotter, Part 1

This entry is Part 1 because I can only assume that there will be many future Odes to Selbuvotter. I got this great book for Christmas because I asked for it. (Knitter's rule! If you don't tell them they'll never know what to get you!)

It's chock full of beautifully rendered classic Norwegian mittens in the Selbu tradition. One or two are modified from this tradition, like one where the note explains that Icelandic tricks are used in the thumb. But even before the patterns, Terri Shea takes the time to lovingly share the narrative of how one woman started this national piece of heritage on a dare. Love it!

Here is another case where Ravelry shows off so brilliantly everyone's different variations on a theme. The charts in Selbuvotter have been modified to flip-top mittens, fingerless gloves, and even some matching hats! I was able to look to my fellow Ravelers for color inspiration, as well!

These mittens are labeled Annemor #5, since they come from Annemor Sundbo's collection. I propose a different name, inspired by the visionary Ron Burgundy and his litany of uncommon exclamations. "By Odin's Raven!" were originally children's mittens made in jumperweight yarn. I used yet MORE leftover worsted from my Christmas patterns (that black is the last vestiges of Kent's Beret). And I modified the cuff because I didn't much care for the plain old checkerboard on the original mittens. Now they're a little more feminie but with a childlike charm. I think the hearts make these grownup mittens a bit more whimsical.

Once I was convinced I could understand the charts used in this book, I moved on to gloves in a finer gauge. I think modifying little girls' mittens was a pretty creative test-run, don't you? The second pair is Annemor #7, also known (to me) as "I Saw a Moose!" I'm allowed to name it after a family inside joke, right? Right.

My color choices on these gloves might be up for a little debate. I knew that I wanted this turmeric and eggplant combination to appear in some form, but I think in retrospect, I would have preferred to go with a more traditional color combination. They're fine and very interesting this way, but I'll go back to MC=white, CC=gray or black for a while.

One more note on this pattern is that the charts were off on count between the palm and the hands. The basic instructions say just to follow the chart, but you have to be creative in where you cast on or pick up stitches in order for the stitch counts to make sense as each finger is starting. I would add another two plain rounds to the rest of the hand once the pinky is done. I saw that technique in my first pair of gloves, and it just now makes sense to use it in order to make the finger joints line up correctly.

Sunday, January 31, 2010

Bird on a Wire Hat

Bird on a Wire Hat (Ravel it!), modeled by the lovely McKey from America's Next Top Model, in Vogue Knitting's Fall 2009 issue. I was getting sick of the white covers in their 2009 issues, but some of the hats in Fall 2009 made up for the cover-blahs. Some of them were a bit crazy (too BIG, too TALL), but what are you going to do? Designers are designers.

Size and gauge-wise, this pattern was spot on. I worked it in Malabrigo sock and enjoyed the subtle variations in the colors. When we were in Naples, Florida for Thanksgiving, I dragged my sister to the local yarn shop so that she could pick out her yarn. (She has a yarn-phobia, no joke, it can be anxiety-attack-inducing!) She made it through the store just fine. As long as I wound up the hanks into skeins, it was more of a solid object instead of a stringy nightmare, so she could pet her options and feel what she was getting into. The blend in this yarn made it nice and smooth, instead of the itchy wool she was expecting.

So hopefully I've made a double-knitting fingering-weight hat that will last for a while. Lord knows it took long enough to make, as far as beanies go.