Thursday, September 29, 2005

sockapal2za socks and so much pleasure

(note: scroll down to see not one, but TWO FO posts from the past 2 days!)

I finally have a chance to post my own picture of the socks I got from Allena, my sockapaltwoza sock pal:

my new sockapal2za sock

Check out the bright colors (yes, they are that bright in person) - aren't they awesome? And I loooove the pattern, especially stretched out (you can see it a little better if you click to make the picture bigger):

sockapal2za socks

You might notice that the socks did in fact make it onto my feet - I went to my first ever knitting group on Monday, and spent the first half of it fixing the socks. First, I threaded a lifeline 2 rows below the bind off, pulled out the woven-in end, and ripped those 2 rows back. Then I slipped the stitches onto size 2 dpns, bound off with a size 5 needle, and wove in the end again. The new edge might not be as pretty as the old one was, but it stretches enough that I can now get the socks on and off easily - though I like putting them on much more than taking them off. ;) Check out the perfect fit:

sockapal2za socks

Once again, I want to say THANK YOU SO MUCH to Allena. These socks are so perfect!! When I finally did take them off, just after sitting cross-legged, I was really amused to look down at my feet and notice this:

a patterned... foot?

Patterned feet! ;)

As for the other half of the knitting group, I spent it working on my Haley sweater, out of Berocco Pleasure. There really are no words to describe the softness of this yarn, and it is so nice to work with also. My only complaint so far is that out of 3 balls, one had 1 knot and another had 2... but I should have extra yarn so it isn't the biggest problem. Here's the front of my sweater:

front of haley sweater

That's as of yesterday, though - turns out that the combination of 10.5 needles and super soft yarn makes it very easy to make visible progress, so it's a few inches longer now. I can't wait to finish this one and snuggle up with it!

raglan tansy tee

raglan tansy tee laid flat

Finally, the beast is FINISHED!

pattern: Raglan Tansy Tee from spring 2005 issue of Cast On Magazine, size XXS (but with different gauge - I'm not that tiny!)
yarn: K1C2 2nd Time Cotton (75% recycled cotton, 25% acrylic / 180 yds per 100g hank); 3 hanks Atlantis, 2 hanks Glacier
needles: Denises size 6
gauge: 20.5 sts x 30 rows / 4"
date finished: September 23, 2005

And... well... it's finished. I started this project a long time ago, in March I think. I loved the look of the pattern in the magazine, so when I substituted yarn I tried to find something that would give a similar look. The 2nd Time Cotton isn't variegated, but its plies are different colors to give a watercolor-y effect. I like the yarn, but I'm not in a rush to use it again... it was a little hard on my hands, and while it feels nice against my skin I would definitely not call it soft. In the future I think I'd much rather use a soft cotton/wool blend like Cotton Fleece again than go back to this yarn.

As for the finished sweater? Well... I'm just not sure how I feel about it. After it sucked up so much time spread out over so many months, finishing it felt anticlimactic. I didn't finish it because I was excited about it; I finished it because I got tired of seeing it on my WIP list. I don't know if the horizontal stripes are very flattering on me, and I planned out the waist shaping (the original called for knitting the whole body straight) before I really knew what I was doing, so the decreases are way too close together and the increases are way too spread out. What do you think?

raglan tansy tee

The good things: despite the weird shaping, it does fit really well. This was my first raglan top, and my first time seaming stripes, and my seams are almost perfect (the only problems are at the underarms where I fixed the sleeve length). Even though I picked it up and put it down numerous times, I managed to keep a consistent gauge throughout. And, I learned how to do a tubular bind-off on the collar, which magically stopped the flaring I was getting from other bind-offs. I think I will probably wear this, maybe under a jacket, as a fall sweater.

see all project photos

And now that it's done, I can work on softer, prettier things with no more guilt! ;)

Wednesday, September 28, 2005

multidirectional scarf

2-color multidirectional scarf

pattern: Multidirectional Diagonal Scarf
yarn: 2 balls Karabella Aurora 8 (100% merino wool; 95yds/50g) in... um... blue and white (I got it on sale because the labels were missing, so I have no idea what the real names are)
needles: Denise size 10s
gauge: not really sure... 28 "base" stitches made it 4.5" wide
date finished: September 20, 2005

As I mentioned, I got 2 balls of this yarn on sale. I didn't want to buy more than one ball of the same color, because there was no way to match dyelots without labels, so I bought one blue and one white (sort of a pale cream color actually). I knew I wanted to make them into a scarf, but I'm all striped out at the moment, so I wanted another pattern. I saw a few mentions of a 2-color brioche stitch, but it was always described as creating a very thick and dense fabric, which I took to mean it sucks up yarn, and I didn't have too much to begin with.

Instead I decided to play around with the multidirectional scarf pattern, and found that I could do alternating triangles in different colors with only a small modification: I worked on a circular needle, and at the end of each triangle I knit back up to the top point, then pushed the whole thing over to the other side of the needle so that I'd have the loose yarn ready and waiting for the next triangle in that color. I think the points where I switched from one color to the next look a little sloppy, but once I got started, I didn't have the patience to play around with it until I found something better.

This yarn is SOOO yummy. It is super soft and squishy, and machine washable, and the stitch definition is amazing. Sadly, I don't know if I'll ever get to use it again, as its normal retail price is pretty high for not too much yardage. Speaking of the yardage, I hoped to get a slightly larger scarf out of these 2 balls (the finished scarf is 4.5" wide and 42" long), but I didn't have enough left for another repeat of the triangles. I'm thinking of adding fringe though, just for some extra length.

Overall, it's a cute scarf, and I really like the pattern (it has to be a good pattern for me to have the patience for a scarf!) and it knit up very quickly. Plus it looks great with my new black fall jacket! :)

Monday, September 26, 2005

shrug plans foiled

Sigh... I thought I had my Saturday all planned out. I have 2 friends who live in Manhattan that I wanted to see, both in the east village... my plan was to meet up with friend #1 at 1:30, grab a late lunch, walk around a bit, and then he had to be somewhere around 6 so I would leave and head over to friend #2's apartment, stopping at Downtown Yarns on the way. I wanted to pick up the pattern that Alison used for her gorgeous feather and fan shrug. I've loved that shrug from the moment I first saw it, and I'm all socked out at the moment so it seemed like the perfect way to use that gorgeous hank of Koigu that my SP gave me. I also used my 10% off coupon from eBay to buy a ball of Kidsilk Haze in a gorgeous maroon color that I don't remember the name of that will hopefully match the Koigu perfectly.

Only problem? Friend #1 decided that we should get pizza for lunch, and we should go to a pizza place in Brooklyn (admittedly, the pizza there is damn good). We didn't get there until about 3, and by the time we finished and wanted to head back, it was close to 4. We walked down the steps of the subway station just as a train was pulling in, so he led me directly onto the train. It was a full 3 stops later that I realized we were going the WRONG WAY, farther into the depths of Brooklyn, on the express train no less! We got off at the next stop but there was no way to switch to the other direction from there, so we had to take the local train 2 more stops farther into Brooklyn before finally finding a crossover. Needless to say, by the time we got back into Manhattan, the time I planned on having to visit the yarn store had all but vanished.

So now I'm not really sure what to do. I won't be in NY again for at least 3 more weeks, and by then it won't really be shrug weather anymore. I could try to wing it, since the pattern seems fairly straightforward, but (a) I'd feel like I'm ripping them off, and (b) I have a feeling that the pattern as written would use every last inch of yarn, so if I improvise on gauge, I could end up falling short of the requirements. Harumph... what's a feather-and-fan-shrug-craving girl to do?

Saturday, September 24, 2005

sock fondling and sleeve surgery

I'm home at my parents' house for the weekend, and I forgot to bring my camera home, so the first half of this entry will have to be pictureless. I was not in the best mood when I got home, after driving for 4 hours and dealing with lots of traffic at the end... but then I saw a package waiting for me on the kitchen counter that perked me right up. It was my sockapaltwoza socks! They were knit for me by Allena, and you can see a picture of them here. She used Knitpicks Color Your Own yarn (SO SOFT) that she Kool-Aid dyed herself, the colors are really bright and there are so many different colors in there. The pattern is also gorgeous, a little lacey with a lot of texture. Basically I love these socks!! There's only one problem, the bindoff is a little too tight, so I haven't been able to try them on yet. I was going to try to fix them today, but I realized that I left all my knitting needles (besides the 10.5 I'm using on a current project, which won't be terribly helpful) at school, so I'll probably have to wait until I get back to fix them. But I did hold them up to my feet, and it seems like they'll fit perfectly!

And, she sent me a lot of goodies too!! In the package was a postcard of Germany, where her husband is currently stationed (yup, these are international socks), a polka-dot notebook, a bar of goat's milk soap, and a set of foot "accessories" (nail clipper, file, foam toe separators, pumice stone, etc). She went so out of her way, I'm going to have to find something to send back to her as a thank you. Meanwhile, I keep fondling and petting my socks, since they are SO SOFT.

Over the past week, I've been busy, not so much with knitting but with finishing. I'm happy to report that the raglan tansy tee is DONE! And... I don't know if I like it. But that's a story for another day, first I wanted to post about my successful sleeve surgery. The instructions said to knit until the sleeves measured 3", but with the stripe pattern I had to stop at either 2.5" or 3.5". I went with 3.5", and after seaming allllll the way up one side and trying it on, I decided the sleeves were just too long. Something had to be done! So I started with the right (still unseamed) sleeve. Here's what it looked like before I did anything:

raglan tansy tee: too-long sleeve

I wanted to get rid of a full repeat, which was one stripe of each color. To make the "reattaching" easier I decided to separate and graft within a beige stripe. I used crochet cotton as a lifeline, and threaded it through the 2nd row of one beige stripe and the 4th row of the next beige stripe, knowing that the grafting would make up the 3rd row.

raglan tansy tee:

Then I cut the yarn and rrrrrripped back:

raglan tansy tee: after ripping back

Instead of putting all the stitches back onto needles, I grafted the 2 pieces together right from the lifelines:

raglan tansy tee: grafting in progress

Once I finished, I removed the lifelines, and ta-da!

raglan tansy tee: perfect-length sleeve!

A nice cute short sleeve! The second one was a little more difficult, because I had to undo the side seam first (and I had already weaved in the end from it), but that sleeve got the same treatment. I finished seaming and weaving in ends, through it in the washing machine (mmmmm machine washable yarn) and it had just finished drying when I had to leave yesterday, so I didn't have time to take pics. But they'll come soon, along with another FO that I don't know if I ever even mentioned. Now I'm off to work on my happy soft Pleasure sweater... I loves me some angora!

Monday, September 19, 2005

sockapaltwoza socks

Why, what could that be peeking out from underneath my jeans?

finished sockapal2za socks

I believe it is a pair of finished socks! Here are the specs:

pattern: my own, I'll probably post it soon
yarn: 1 hank Weaving Southwest Hand-dyed Sport Yarn (100% wool; 375yds/4oz) in Logwood (I think?)
needles: Inox size 2 dpns
gauge: 8 sts / 1"
date finished: September 13, 2005

And some more pictures:

sockapal2za socks drying flat
look, they're friends!

As I mentioned before, my sock pal asked for anklets without anything frilly or lacey. She didn't have a color preference, and I checked to make sure that hand-wash would be okay before using this lovely yarn I bought in New Mexico on my cross-country road trip. The color is technically one of their "solids," but there is a decent amount of variegation from a deep, rich purple to a slatey grayish purple.

I didn't really use a pattern for these... I guess I've gotten to a point where I see socks as a combination of a bunch of techniques and ideas all put together. These were knit cuff-down starting with a twisted German cast-on (so deliciously stretchy!), then a normal slip-stitch square heel flap, rounded heel, diamond pattern adapted from here on instep, and a garter stitch toe. Garter stitch in the round on DPNs is not so much fun, but I think it's worth it for the added padding and stretchiness it gives.

Unfortunately, the socks are still sitting on my desk right now. I had someone in town visiting me from Wednesday until today and couldn't find time to mail them, and I meant to take care of it today, but I found myself in the campus ER at 3am with hives all over my legs. They gave me Benadryl, which helped but also knocked me out, and even though I'm awake now I'm still pretty out of it. So I'm going to take it easy for the rest of the day, and send out the socks tomorrow. Sock pal, I hope you can forgive me for the lateness!!

Tuesday, September 13, 2005

oh so tired

The sockapal2za socks are finished and drying on my handy new sweater drying rack! I'm hoping they'll be dry in the morning, but if not I can turn my fan on them and that should help. (I'd turn the fan on them now, but it's hot in my room and I think I need it more than the socks. ;)) Took lots of pictures, will post later, yadda yadda yadda... now it is time for sleep, though only a little, because I so kindly offered to pick my boyfriend up from the airport at 5:30 in the morning. Have I mentioned that so far I've gotten lost just about every time I've tried to drive somewhere in Boston? This should be fun... :-\ More later, when I'm a little less stressed and more coherent (so maybe in a week or 2? heh).

Tuesday, September 06, 2005

better late than never!

I missed Alison's big Tuesday update, but I thought I'd post anyway to let her (and my sock pal) know that I am working on my Sockapal2za socks! I am a bit behind - just finished the first one yesterday, and am about to cast on for the second - but I think I'll still be able to finish in time. I hope so at least! Here's a picture:

sockapal2za sock #1

I'm making up the pattern as I go along. My sock pal wanted ankle socks (thankfully!) without anything frilly or lacey, so I went with a simple pattern of seed stitch diamonds along the top. Here's another view of the sock, so you can see the diamonds a little better (though the color is a little washed out):

sockapal2za sock #1 (top view)

I used a garter stitch toe for added stretch there... and I am totally loving these socks. Unlike the last pair I sent away, these fit me, so it's much more tempting to just keep them for myself! But I think instead I will just start up a new pair for myself as soon as I finish these. Must be a good sock pal.

Sunday, September 04, 2005

secret pal socks

socks for my secret pal

pattern: none really, made it up as I went along
yarn: 1 ball Lang Jawoll Jacquard sock yarn (75% wool, 18% nylon, 7% acrylic / 208 yds per ball), 1 ball Louet Sales Gems Quartz yarn (100% superwash merino / 225 yds per ball) in Parrot for the toes
needles: Inox size 3 dpns
gauge: 8 sts / 1"
date finished: August 23, 2005

I finished these a week or 2 ago but just got around to posting. (That seems to be a theme recently, doesn't it?) The yarn I used for the toes ended up being significantly thicker than the yarn for the rest of the socks, but I think that once they're stretched on your foot it's okay. These were made for my "downstream" secret pal, Jen. She reported back that they do fit, I was a little worried because our feet are very different sizes and I had to go by the numbers instead of trying them on. But it seems like it worked!