Wednesday, April 26, 2006

done and done

I'm in lab right now, and I should really be working, but trying to visualize a hypersurface in 8-dimensional space and then find a set of perpendicular basis vectors is making my head hurt. So I'm blogging instead. :)

More importantly, I am wearing my finished Satori sweater! And it is fabulous! The shaping of it is so simple, but I think it's flattering (especially the wide boatneck), and all that stockinette really lets the yarn shine. Which it does, literally, because of the high silk content. As the day wears on, I'm watching it get fuzzier and fuzzier, but the fuzz is still in the form of a mohair halo... this isn't muppet fuzz or anything close to it. The high for today is supposed to be 62 degrees, but at 1:30 it's still about 50, so I can keep wearing my fuzzysoft long sleeve sweater without sweating buckets.

I finished knitting the sleeves on Monday night at knitting group, then I blocked the pieces overnight and seamed it all up yesterday. Actually I had a bit of a blocking party (which bears no resemblance to a block party, sadly) and threw my sockapaloooza socks, the one finished tulip sock, and a secret swatch in with the sweater. The tulip sock... well... it makes me a little sad. It does not fit, and I blame it partly on the pattern and partly on myself. And the parts I blame on the pattern, I still blame myself for, because I should have known better. Who works a short-row heel over less than half the stitches?? It makes the top of the sock stretch out like crazy over my ankle and the top of my foot. The heel is also a little too pointy for my tastes. Other problems: the cuff is a little tight, the foot is a little loose. (I think this happened as I got more comfortable with my continental knitting and stopped holding the yarn in my left hand with a death grip.) The foot is too long by maybe 1/4" (also totally my fault, it would have been exactly the right length if my tension was the same on the cuff and the foot).

I'm not really sure what I'm going to do with it. I am seriously considering framing it and not bothering with the second one (an idea which got the Yarn Harlot stamp-of-approval, unless she just agreed with me to get me to move through the line faster). The sock is just not wearable, and I doubt it would fit anyone else either because my legs are skinny so anyone who could wear the cuff comfortably would probably have feet the same length as mine or shorter. And there is no way I'm frogging it - especially because that would involve undoing all 56 (!!) ends. If I want a wearable pair of tulip socks, I'll have to knit 2 new socks... which I may or may not do. I certainly have enough yarn leftover, but I think that fair isle with the colors changing every few rows is better suited to sweaters or vests which get steeked so you can hide all the ends there and not have to weave in FIFTY-SIX ENDS per sock. Eh, I don't have to decide right away. (Oh, also, I still haven'theard back from Knitpicks about the messed up heel directions. @#$@$^%#^!!!)

Friday, April 21, 2006

that was fun.

Skipping out on lab early yesterday afternoon was definitely one of the best ideas I've had in a while! While on the T to Porter Square, I ran into 2 people I know, and had an interesting time explaining that I was on my way to a temple to see someone who writes knitting books give a talk. Erm... it wasn't nearly as weird as it sounds though. It was, in fact, a lot of fun! There were so many people there. The Yarn Harlot was hilarious... not that I expected anything different. ;) I was quite literally laughing out loud for a lot of it. Afterwards, I bought her newest book, and got it signed. Here's me, the Harlot herself, and Ariel (who took the picture and sent it to me, thanks! :D)

seeing the Yarn Harlot

Some notes:
- I don't know why I'm making a peace sign on the sock. I think I was trying to hold it up flat. That obviously did not work.
- The two purple handknit tanktops were not at all planned.
- The holes on my tanktop are not so... erm... open in real life. I was wearing a white camisole underneath and I think it just reflected a lot in the photo.

We met up with Tope and her friend Ellen, and afterwards the 4 of us went across the street to get sushi. Yum.

There were some "celebrity" sightings on both ends - I saw Kathy (I wasn't sure if she'd remember me from the knit-out, so I didn't say hi to her because I was embarrassed, but then she came and said hi to me, so I felt even MORE embarrassed... yes, I have fabulous people skills...) and Alison (who I didn't say anything to because she was across the room). And on the other end, when I first sat down, the woman next to me looked at me and said "hey! I know that top! Are you the one who designed it?" Which I thought was very, very cool. She said she had just been looking at the pattern a few days ago and trying to decide if she should make it or not, but after seeing mine she wanted to go for it. :)

So all in all, it was a great afternoon/evening. I love hanging out with other knitters! And now I have a new book to read. What could be better?

Thursday, April 20, 2006


I'm off to see the Harlot,
the wonderful Harlot of Yarn...

(Okay, between that and the Yoda song, I think I've used up my Cheesy Music Quota for the week...)

Stephanie Pearl-McPhee is coming to Porter Square this afternoon. I usually meet with my advisers Thursdays at 5, so I wasn't expecting to be able to go, but as of last night this week's meeting is cancelled. (Through no fault or suggestion of my own - my advisers are both just busy - I call it fate. :)) So after my 2 o'clock seminar, I'm going to sneek out of lab over to the T and head over there. I'm so excited!!

I even cast on for a new sock last night, when I realized that all my WIPs are either complicated (Caribbean Sea Stole, Tulip Socks) or not portable (Satori sweater being worked off a cone, Tulip Socks again (they're small, but they use 7 balls of yarn!)). So I pulled some variegated Regia out of the stash and started simple toe-up stockinette socks to take with me. I also wanted to wear something I've knit, but it's too warm outside for a sweater or scarf or hat... most of my spring knits (Cleo, Honeymoon Cami, Spring Fling) are at my parents' house so it came down to the raglan tansy tee or the prosperous plum tank. Tried on the tee (which I've never worn), decided it was so awful that I'll probably frog it, and ended up with the pretty purple tank. Really, was there any question? ;) Yes, I'm thinking way too hard about all this, but it's not every day that I get to see someone famous (in my eyes anyway)!


Look, it's Yoda! Y-O-D-A Yoda... Yo yo yo yo yoooooooodaaaa...
(sorry, I've had this song in my head since I started)

yoda from the front
yoda from the back

pattern: Kate from Winter '05 Knitty with Yoditty modifications by CBear
yarn: Knitpicks Wool of the Andes (100% wool / 110 yds per 50 g), 1 ball each of Fern, Chestnut, and Snickerdoodle
needles: Brittany Birch size 7 dpns
gauge: not sure yet again
date finished: April 18, 2006

I made Yoda for my downstream SP - she doesn't know who I am yet, and I'm not going to reveal myself to her in the last package. I'm going to let her guess - if you're reading this and you get a Yoda in the mail, then you're my pal! :) I followed the pattern pretty closely (with the mods) but I couldn't find any safety eyes so I had to improvise. Instead of fiddling with knitting a circle, I did the unthinkable... I picked up a crochet hook. But for what it's worth, I feel fairly comfortable with this kind of crochet - the chain a few stitches, make a circle, do some other type of crochet stuff into the hole, make it up as you go kind. It's when someone tells me to 10 dc in the sc skp2 7 dc blah blah blah that my eyes glaze over. I can't read a crochet pattern for the life of me but I'm not completely incompetent with a hook - and now I have proof!

There are quite a few things I'm not happy about it - the eyes, while roundish, are a little lumpy and uneven. And I got some serious ladders from my dpns (they're more visible on the back). And the stuffing is poking out just a bit. I'm going to suggest that the recipient throw him in the dryer for a few minutes to tighten his skin up if it's a problem, I'd do it myself but I don't really have open dryer access. But he is soft and squisy and Yoda-esque and cute, so overall I'm satisfied.

Also, he was a fun, quick knit - took about 3 days - so I could definitely see myself making more knit toys in the future. I'd make sure to go down a few needle sizes, though. I have Jess Hutchison's book so I guess it's just a matter of deciding which one to make first!

Thursday, April 13, 2006

still toe-less but getting closer

The tulip socks are coming along pretty quickly, though I'm sure that's in large part because I haven't been working on anything else. What can I say, fair isle is addictive!

tulip sock #1 almost finished!

What's that? You want to see the inside? Well sure, I've got nothing to hide!

inside of tulip sock #1

Okay, sorry, that was a blatant lie. In fact, the sock was very carefully positioned for that picture, because I had a whole lot to hide. The less glamorous side of fair isle:

... and only 93284017582 ends to weave in!


Any tips on weaving in a bajillion ends? (Besides lots of patience and maybe a glass of wine?) I can't even tell if the sock fits me or not - I'm pretty sure it does, but when it's right-side-out, most of the space inside is taken up by the ends, so it's hard to jam my foot in there as well. Maybe I'll take it to knitting group, and nothing else, so I'll have to weave weave weave. Ugh, the sock is still sitting there on the floor, inside out, ends waving... stop taunting me! I will conquer you yet!

But first, perhaps, I'll give my sock a toe. :) I'm going to try the round toe used in the pattern, mostly because I've never tried one before and I'm curious as to how it fits. Also, I think I'm going to use a double strand for the whole toe, because I've been noticing a disturbing trend in my storebought socks recently - they ALL have holes in the toes. I'd hate for the trend to spread to my handknit socks, so hopefully double stranding will help!

If you're looking to try this pattern or the simple stripes fair isle socks from Knitpicks, you should know that the heel is... a little messed up. I emailed KP about it yesterday and am still waiting to hear their response. I was perhaps a little harsh, but they've been telling people that the heel instructions are perfectly fine, when they are obviously not. It's one thing to sell a pattern with mistakes in the first place, but to then insist that the mistakes aren't there... not cool, Knitpicks, not cool.

Monday, April 10, 2006

new knitty

Hmmmm. I've been very excited about this issue of Knitty - hitting the refresh button obsessively for the last few days, wishing and hoping for new patterns for cute tanks and summer sweaters. And it finally came out last night, and my reaction was... meh.

There isn't a single tank top pattern. The T-Twist tee is nice but would be very unflattering on me. Mesilla is a fabulous work of art, but I can't see myself wearing something like it. And then there are a lot of long-sleeve sweaters, none of which seem all that springy or summery. So... meh. I like the accessories - both pairs of socks are nice, the double-knit checkered scarf is cool, and I like the brimmed hat. The snails are adorable, and Jamesey really makes me wish I had a guy in my life who appreciated hand-knits (not to mention having a guy in my life at all). Tendrils is gorgeous but I'd never have the patience for it. So I guess my problem isn't with the quality of the issue, it's just that the issue doesn't do much for me and my expectations (or hopes). Nothing screams out to me. Guess I'll just have to wait for the next issue... I mean it isn't as if I don't have enough warm-weather knits in the queue anyway. ;)

Sunday, April 09, 2006

Pomatomus socks

Sorry the pictures are coming over a month late...

pink panther pomatomuses!

pattern: Pomatomus from Winter '05 Knitty
yarn: 2 hanks Louet Gems Opal (100% merino wool / 225 yds per 100 g) in Pink Panther (with lots of leftovers)
needles: Inox size 3 dpns
gauge: not sure, but larger than the pattern called for
date finished: end of February, 2006

I loooove these socks! I think the pattern is so much fun. It's definitely more challenging than plain stockinette, but it's fairly intuitive, and I was able to ditch the row counter quickly. I made a few modifications because I used a sport-weight yarn instead of fingering weight. Instead of 6 pattern repeats around the leg and 3 on the foot, I did 5 around the leg and 2 on the foot. (I had no idea how to do 2.5 repeats - if you can figure out a way to get that extra 1/2 repeat in there and keep the nice straight edges, let me know!) Also, I did a short-row toe, because the standard wedge toe always looks a little strange for me. I can't get my decrease line as tight as I want it to be. And I don't mind grafting those extra stitches, so I stuck to the short rows. The yarn is very nice, it machine-washes and dries beautifully. I've washed the socks twice already and they get softer each time.

One thing I didn't change about the pattern is the number of row repeats - I did the whole pattern the 3 times called for, so the cuffs of my socks are very long. But I kind of like it that way, I can wear them with boots. And the pattern is super stretchy so there are no concerns about them not fitting over my calves.

the pattern looks so pretty stretched out

I can definitely see myself making more Pomatomuseses! :)

Thursday, April 06, 2006


I have a meeting with my advisers in 10 minutes.

I can barely keep my eyes open.

I haven't knit a stitch in 2 days.

I am way, way too amused by this:

I went to see the cannon at lunch and it was like seeing an old friend.

Or something.

Gotta get ready for that meeting. And that awake-ness.

Wednesday, April 05, 2006

a new kind of april showers

Well, I think it's safe to say that this season's scarf weather is not over yet.

Because it is snowing right now.

SNOW. In APRIL. What??? I hate Boston weather soooo much. I want my spring! :(

Although... on second thought, my most recent WIPs are still cold-weather items. I finished the body of the Satori sweater on Friday - it took me a grand total of 4 days. Record timing!! I didn't take home the dpns I needed for the sleeves, so the first one was just cast on last night. But I got a nice blurry mirror pic for you:

who needs sleeves?

And while the colors are certainly spring-y, stranded wool socks won't last very long into the warm spring/summer months. Just means I have to finish them faster, right? I have a lot of thoughts and musings about my first fair isle (or is this just stranding? I'm not quite sure of the difference yet) attempt... for now I'll just post a picture though.

i stranded!  and it looks... okay!

It's coming along pretty quickly, I'm up to the gingham section now. The blues are SO much nicer than the purples in the original pattern. I keep peeking at the sock-in-progress because I'm still surprised that I made it!

And with that, I think I've procrastinated long enough. Time to go to school. In the snow. In April. :-/

Saturday, April 01, 2006

sockapaloooza socks

Hm... finished these a few days ago, but I'm not sure if I'm posting in time for them to count as my March socks...

finished sockapaloooza socks

pattern: my own
yarn: 2 balls KFI Cashmereno (55% merino, 33% microfiber, 12% cashmere / 148 yds per 50 g), color 6 (dark blue)
needles: Inox size 3 dpns
gauge: 7.5 sts = 1"
date finished: March 28, 2006

I wanted some sort of patterning on these, but my pal didn't want lace, so I figured I should go with either ribs or cables. Thing is, I knew I'd be cutting it close with only 2 balls of yarn... my pal has large feet (10" long, 9" around). I decided on a simple cable motif running up the instep and around the back of the leg. The socks were knit toe up to use every last bit of yarn, and they came out a little shorter than I would have liked, but I think they're still long enough to be respectable.

The motif is a 3-stitch braided cable surrounded by 2 purl stitches on each side that really pops when the sock is stretched out.

closeup of stitch pattern on sockapaloooza socks

Ignore the lumpiness, that's just because I put my hand in there and stretched it out as best as I could. ;)

Like many good yarns, this one is discontinued. I think it's very similar to Debbie Bliss Baby Cashmerino, but I've never used the DB version so I can't be sure. It's super soft and it makes a thick, cushy fabric. And, it's machine washable - always a plus. I would buy more to make socks for myself, if I knew where to find it! Sock pal, I hope these socks fit you and you like them!!


Ah, nothing like the sight of a rainbow scarf basking in the sun...

mini-Clapotis basking in the sun

pattern: really, do I have to bother? (fine, OK, link is here)
yarn: 3 balls Noro Silk Garden (45% silk, 45% kid mohair, 10% lambswool / 109 yds per 50 g), color 87
needles: Inox size 8
gauge: ummm.... dunno
date finished: March 27, 2006

What can I say about this pattern that hasn't already been said?? I only worked the increase section once to get a long, skinny(ish) scarf. It rippled and curled like crazy before being blocked, so I had no idea just how long it would be until...

mini-Clapotis on me

Ignore the PJs please. :) And instead, focus on the fact that this scarf falls BELOW MY KNEES. On both sides! Now, it's true that I am short, but if you go by the rule that a scarf should be as long as the wearer is tall, then I should ship this baby off to Shaquille O'Neal. Think he'd want a rainbow scarf??

Luckily, the pattern creates a light, loose fabric so I can wrap it around my neck a few times without adding too much bulk. I wore the scarf on Tuesday, but the temperature kept getting higher and higher all week, so it hasn't come out since then. I'm hoping for a few more cool-ish days so I can wear it a little more, because I loooove the way it came out! Not sure if the huge color range means it matches everything, or nothing... I'm going with everything for now.

Nitpicky details: based on the tips here, I twisted the stitches on either side of the dropped stitch column on both the RS and the WS. It took me a little longer because I had to pay attention on the purl rows instead of just absent-mindedly purling across, but I like the effect. I also mirrored the twisted stitches.

mini-Clapotis close up

Thanks again to Jen for the yarn!