Archive for August, 2006

Magic Loop

August 31, 2006 Leave a comment

The crayon socks are drying. With luck, I can pack them for my trip this weekend.

And I am in love with the Magic Loop method. Oh, my goodness – it’s so easy and makes so much sense. I’m making the Figure-8 toe right now, and it’s so much easier than short rows. I couldn’t do it at all on dpns, but it’s obvious with ml. I’m using stitch markers to keep count – it’s just easier to count to 6 (I’m going up to 60 stitches for these socks, since they’re of a stretchy lace) than to 30, four stitches every other round. I’m putting the increases one stitch from the end of each needle, right leaning on the right and left on the other, so it should look very pretty.

But that’s not the best part. The best part was knitting on the bus. I wasn’t worried about dropping a dpn, and stashing the sock back into the bag was a matter of making sure all the stitches were on the cable, which took less than a second. No making the needles all even, no jamming a fifth needle into the yarn. I didn’t even need to finish the needle. I just needed to ensure that my ring marker had a stitch on both sides.

So, what do I do with my 1 and 4/5 sets of Clovers and my Brittanys now? (Actually, I can see using them anyway, and there are things I want to play with. But the best part of knitting, besides the simple act and then wearing the creations, is learning new things.)

Categories: knitting

Not quite finished

August 30, 2006 2 comments

I was going to finish the crayon socks (formerly t he clown socks) last night, but I got stalled.

1. When I was in the supermarket to pick up something for dinner, I could smell the rotisseirie chicken, and it was just delicious. So instead of the chicken filets I was going to get, I bought a whole broiler, which means I had to pay attention to the cooking. (I roasted it very plainly – just a light coating of vegetable oil and a few grinds of pepper – but at high heat. I served it with tiny baked potatoes and steamed baby carrots dusted with garam marsala. It was exactly what I wanted. And my husband came home at the *perfect* moment.)

2. I write fanfiction. At present, I’m working on a long-for-me story based on Terry Pratchett’s Discworld. I did some writing during downtime at work and mailed what I thought was the new material back home. Only that didn’t happen. So I had to spend a fair bit of time recreating what I’d written. Since that usually results in a better written scene, I was only mildly bothered.

3. I spent the time I wasn’t writing or cooking researching and practicing my next project – lace socks using Magic Loop. Turns out that I like Magic Loop. It works well for me. Of course, I had to do it to know that.

But I did so much figuring for the lace and the basic mechanics, I forgot to concentrate on the toe using the Figure 8 cast-on (this turns out to be intuitive for Magic Loop and me, but I kinda didn’t read past the initial instructions.) Also, again, charting even very simple lace is just the way to go. It makes it all plain. I’m not surprised – I’m primarily a tactile person (which is why I need to make things – just looking at a chart isn’t enough. I have to make it) but I’m also highly visual, so seeing it right there is important.

So I’m still at the final ribbing for the crayon socks, and again I spent a large portion of the bus ride correcting things, but I hope to be finished tonight. And I’ll be taking the lace socks to my brother-in-law’s wedding. For which he has not considered rain contingencies. This wedding wasn’t so much planned as toss together.

Categories: cooking, knitting

Out of the closet

August 29, 2006 2 comments

No, not that.

I wore my first finished socks to work this morning. This is a big deal – I’ve been wearing them on days off and they’ve just been getting more comfortable, but never to work before.

Perhaps if I wore pants, it wouldn’t be a problem, but I don’t. I only wear skirts (other than for martial arts.) So the socks are going to be seen.

But, you know. They’re cute. And they work with what I’m wearing. And, honestly, no one cares – I’m the receptionist in a storefront real estate office. I dress better than the agents on my worst days. No one will care about a pair of socks. Also, it means I can wear the pair I’ll be finishing tonight. And the ones I’ll be starting right afterwards.

On a vaguely different note, I was standing at a bus stop yesterday working on my sock when a woman came up and told me they were gorgeous and that she saw them as she walked up the block (they’re very bright, so that makes sense.) And that I did beautiful work.

🙂 (I then spent half the bus trip laddering back to correct mistakes. Beautiful work. Hah!)

Categories: knitting

Round and round and it comes out here

August 27, 2006 2 comments

When I was a little girl, my mother taught me how to wind yarn, and I got very good at it – I made perfectly round balls.  Most of the huge skeins of acrylic my mother used/uses came in pull-skeins, but sometimes it didn’t, and that’s when I wound it.  None of them were center-pull, of course.  We never heard of such a thing.

Now, most of the yarn I’ve been using has come in nice skeins  so I didn’t feel the need to rewind it, except for the yarn I bought in a Park Slope yarn shop, but that was wound in the store and I got these pretty cakes.  And I was satisfied.

Last night, I was ready to change yarn again for my wrap, and on a whim, I wound ithe new skein into a ball, using my thumb to keep the center open.  It took about twenty minutes.  I got a ball that wasn’t as pretty as the one I got using a niddy-noddy and a ball-winder, but it was still fine, and I could squash it so it was flat on the bottom,and the wool pulls easily. It’s been a pleasure to knit from.  I think that if I have the time, I’ll do this again. 

Although winding sock yarn seems rather daunting.

Speaking of that yarn shop – I went there on Friday (I love summer Fridays. There’s just so much *time*) because I lost one of my Clover dpns and I wanted to replace it without waiting for mail-order.  I’ve been using one of my Brittanys but I do prefer the Clovers.

While there, I asked about sock yarn, but she doesn’t carry much.  There isn’t much call for it there and she’s not a sock knitter herself.  Given the profit margin for yarn shops, this makes sense.  I did buy the Vogue Quick Reference Guide and I’ve already found it useful.

This is because I have decided to start a proper knitting notebook.  I don’t know how most people do it, but I went with a tiny signature bound Clairfountaine – just the size to fit in the cosmetic bag I use for my tools.  I wanted somethig with a grid, but since I couldn’t find one, I went with college rule and bought a pad of 6 square/inch graph paper in case I wanted to graph something.  I figured I’d just cut the graph out and paste it in the notebook.

On whim, I did that for the lace wrap, and even though I’ve made a couple dozen repeats, it’s still made the whole thing easier.  And I used the Vogue book for the symbols. See?  Useful.

So, because I wanted sock yarn, I bought a couple of skeins of Koigu from Patternworks and added a book on Magic Loop just to learn it.  I have the Addis.

Oh, and Brittany sent four sock needles.  🙂  I might yet use them. 

I also purchased a set of crochet hooks with a case to send to my mother for her birthday.  She’s more of a crocheter than a knitter.  I’d like to send her yarn, too, but I don’t know how much. 

Categories: knitting

Heel Success!

August 23, 2006 Leave a comment

I’ll post a picture tomorrow (tonight, we’re going to see John Hegeman – the “I’m a PC” guy – in a benefit for writers and I’m at work now), but last night I finally, finally, *finally* made a good heel!

I used the unwrapped short-row heel from Priscilla A. Gibson-Roberts’ Simple Socks: Plain and Fancy, but *this* time I made the yarn-overs correctly and did all the fussy stitch remountings. And it was so worth it. Beautiful solid heel. Now that I’ve conquered this, I might make some adjustments for my narrow heels (and wide toes), but that’s for future socks, and I couldn’t adjust until I knew what I was doing.

It’s still much easier than wrapped short rows. I have the hardest time picking up purled wraps, and that just doesn’t happen here.

And, yes. Still used the stitch markers – split rings to keep track of the yarn-overs and one tiny ring on each side so I knew when I’d made 9 yarn overs on each side.

Categories: knitting

Lacy wrap

August 21, 2006 3 comments

I wanted to show a couple pictures of sock-in-progress, but the camera, freshly back from vacation (and filled with pictures of my adorable future niece – in two weeks, her mother marries my brother-in-law) needs to be recharged, and I didn’t take the time to focus it properly. Besides, it looks like the other one with colors in the opposite direction.

I meant for that to happen.

So. Here are pictures of the wrap.

Here’s the whole thing:

Wrap 1

Notice the pretty Inoxes and the lovely curled edge. This is a stockinette lace, with a garter stitch border. Since it does have a garter stitch border, I’m hoping it’ll block out.

Notice the stitch markers – they have to alternate colors or it would be wrong. Just wrong.

The one at the end is a locking stitchmarker so I can keep track of the rows. I knit the wrong rows twice and had to tink back each time. I want to avoid that in future. This has helped.

And here it is, close up.

Wrap Detail

See? All my little mistakes are practically invisible. Or not.

Categories: knitting

Wrap and sock musings

August 21, 2006 2 comments

I’m still fascinated about how working on one project changes the way things happen on the other. The sock just seems to go so much faster – it’s the difference between working nearly straight stockinette (plus *five* purls) over 64 stitches and lace and cables over 126 stitches. I feel like I’m zooming.

What also makes a difference is that I’ve learned Norwegian purl. Yes, I do hum the Beatles song when I do it. I’m a geek, after all. The new stitch keeps the rhythm of the stockinette going.

As for the wrap- well, it’s a good thing I’m not a perfectionist, because this is less than perfect. Fortunately, perfection is a goal, not a requirement. Most of the cables are fine, but the lace portions – well, I don’t assume they’ll block out. I just hope blocking doesn’t make them more obvious. About the only thing I can say is that I’m making less errors and I’m keeping the stitch count the same. This is because of my beloved stitch markers, of course – one repetition at a time. I’m pretty much assuming that when I wear it, most people won’t even notice the mistakes.

In other news, husband came home on Thursday night and the world was right again.

Categories: knitting