Wednesday, January 31, 2007

Long strong of expletives

Dear sock:

I hate you so freaking much. It's SO not my fault that I cast on a number of stitches that isn't divisible by four. I don't WANNA start over again!

You are a big dumb jerk.

Hate hate hate!

How am I going to fix this? It's a good thing I like them so much, because otherwise they'd be a... a... pair of mittens or something. And a hat.


When will I learn? The only path to successful knitting is through COMPLETE HUMILITY. There is no room for pride in my knitting room (which is also my living/dining/rumpus room).

I'd figured that one of the reasons I'm such a slow knitter is that I always modify (if not competely invent) patterns. So with the Arch-Shaped Socks I settled into the safety of Following A Pattern Exactly (not the same yarn, but Exact Gauge!). Corrections in hand!

But oh. Oh. Y'all, this is so much work! These socks aren't made for curvy-calved people and do I really want to rip them out completely AGAIN? All the decreases have to be changed because otherwise they're compression socks. Then I have to figure out if it's going to fit my foot if and when I reach the ankle.


If I started over I'd:
1. CO 82(ish) instead of the pattern-suggested 80.
2. Increase to 84 (or 86?) after the top band.
3. Knit to where my own personal calf starts to get smaller, THEN start decreases.
4. Do 2 decreases every 4 rows instead of 4 every 7 rows (decreasing stripies on the back of the sock instead of on either side like in the pattern)(maybe).

I think that's all. I guess. But I've already started the damn thing twice; the thought of doing it again is pretty dispiriting.

In the meantime, fifteen of these just arrived:

I started over. I had to. It's just one of those things. So. After some whimsical math involving the supposed strechability of the stitches* I'd need to increase 12 stitches... I can do that...?

These had better be some damn comfy socks.

Edit the two:
Damn. I measured stretchability for corrugated ribbing when I need to do it for stockinette. Foiled...

*If 82 sts fits around the 14" below the knee, and the gauge indicates that 14" at 7 spi means 98 stitches, so there's a stretch of 1.14% or something like that, so 112 sts (widest part of my calf at 16") divided by 1.14 (or whatever) means that a comfortable number of stitches should be 94. Ish.

I totally pulled that out of my ass. Let's see how it goes.

Wednesday, January 24, 2007

By popular demand...

The roving is from Hello Yarn in her dried flowers colorway. It's luscious...

Monday, January 22, 2007

I've been tagged for the first time by Kiwi Knitter! Yee haw. As a result all you unsuspecting folks get to learn:

6 Weird Things About Me!

1. Most of my friends are older than me. Ranging 1-20+ years. Generally, people my own age drive me crazy. It also has to do with the fact that my main source of entertainment (outside of knitting) is contra dancing, and the median age of the dancers in my area is, oh, 45. Ish.

2. I firmly believe that salad is a finger food. Maybe not dressed salad, but I prefer to have the dressing on the side and use my fingers to dip leaves. Trying to eat salad with a fork is unnecessarily difficult.

3. I prefer lovers to boyfriends. I have no intention of settling down anytime soon and with my travel plans (back abroad in Septemberish for... some months) it seems futile to initiate a relationship with an expiration date. Besides, I like my time alone, and I like jaunting off for the weekend without clearing it with someone else (not that I'd have to, I'm just sayin'). Also, I'm too busy for a relationship, I l-o-v-e flirting, I'm wild about my lovers, and I get all the emotional lovin' from my friends.

4. I create wild scenarios in my head all the time. One cross word with someone and my mind goes off on an imaginary argument with them, sometimes making me even more annoyed than I already am. Or I'll hear a creak in my room late at night and all of a sudden I'll be envisioning a guy with a hatchet or similar, and I'd ponder what I'd do -- play sleeping? Jump up and scare him? Sneak my phone under the covers and call the police? And sometimes I'll see someone cute and my mind really takes off.

Maybe I should've stuck with writing fiction...

5. I'm the only person I know who can go on a diet, follow it (fairly) strictly, and gain weight. Yeah. THAT feels good.

6. I can't remember names. I have some kind of freaky mental block where I barely even hear the names anymore, it just comes out "Hi, I'm KSSSHHHHHH." And I'll smile and say, "I'm sorry, what was your name again?" and they'll say, "It's KSSSSHHHHHHH." And I'll smile broadly and never use their name again. I have a lot of conversations with my friends that go as follows:

Them: Is Martin single again?
Me: Um! Which one's Martin?
Them: That one, [pointing to someone I've danced with for years].
Me: ...His name's Martin? Really? ...huh...

Same goes for place names. Street names. Dates. Birthdays. Even things I've known forever gradually leak out. My best bet is to associate that person with someone of the same name. If their name's Brian then I'll associate them with my friend Brian, or with the dog from Family Guy.

This was actually kind of difficult because everything I do seems normal to me. I had to keep reminding myself that just because I do it doesn't mean everybody does it.

And since this is a knitting weblog,

7. I buy roving even though I don't spin. Yet.

Friday, January 19, 2007

More errata than you can shake a magic loop at

By some stroke of unbearable brilliance I managed to remember to check for pattern corrections BEFORE starting the arch-shaped socks (I never remember to do this). I clicked into the Vogue Knitting website, found the right issue, and lo and behold, errata!

"Replace entire pattern."

...oh! Okay.

After a frustrating adventure trying to find some stupid yarn I settled in with some friends on a lovely MLK day.

It starts with k1p1 ribbing in black (actually green, but looks black) (I'm not ruining their pattern -- you can find it here; it just doesn't have the colorwork graph). Then you switch to corrugated ribbing1, but it said that you start with p1k1 which... didn't make sense. More than that, it said the purls were white which, stylistically, struck me as being... wrong. Since the white stands out wouldn't you want it as the knit stitches for smoothness? And what was with starting with purl instead of knit like last time?

So I checked the picture. I looked. I looked again. I looked closer. I confirmed my suspicions with Kate and Andrea. They agreed.

The socks in the magazine are different. Not only from the pattern, but from each other. You can almost almost see it in the pic I posted yesterday: on the left sock the top white stitches are purled. On the right they're knit.

I thought of Elizabeth Zimmerman and her instruction that patterns are not always set in stone (though I, personally, wouldn't want to fuss much with, say, a lace shawl), and decided I knew what I was doing and ribbing smibbing. After the first row I slipped the first stitch from the left needle to the right so I could still start with p1k1 as the pattern inexplicably recommends, and the white (or, in my case, purple) stitches got knit.

So neener neener neener!

I knit away, using magic loop for the first official time. It's okay, this magic looping, but I have to work harder to keep ladders from happening.

I could see how it'd be excellent for travel, though. I'm forever dropping dpns. With the basic socks I tend to knit dpns make it easier for me to know where I am in the pattern. Anyway!

When I got to, say, two inches of knitting I tried it on. A problem with the pattern is that there's one (oh yes one) size. And if you were to look at the model's calves and then look at my calves you might notice that mine are, say, bigger. Curvy! And what's a curvy girl to do?

Why, add to the stripey section! I added four stitches total which will maybe be enough? The two black stripes closest to the back of the sock were changed to 2 sts wide instead of 1. Here's how it went:

That's much easier than describing it. If I were interested in frogging I'd just add another black-and-white stripey to each side, but I wasn't. Interested.

On again! I followed the colorwork graph, feeling all clever-style, and then realized that I'd screwed up. I'd continued diamonding when I should've started wide-striping. I'd have to tink back. Oog.

After some Kate-and-Andrea consultations I decided that it was a Design Element, it was Inspiration, and I Liked It Better, which I actually do. Tink shmink.

THEN I got to the calf decreases and realized it doesn't tell you if the decreases are done in black or white. Turns out it's black. I'm not sure if I agree with that, but it's what I'm working with, so that's the way it'll be. Unless I really do frog and do it all from scratch, knowing what I know now. But considering all the problems it might be better just to finish, THEN decide if I want to start over (at which point the answer will be "HELL no! You think I'm crazy?!").

It's a sexy, sexy sock, though. Problems and all.

I tried it on. It's too tight. Aw. Frog pond time.

1 Corrugated ribbing is ribbing where knit stitches are one color and purls are another.

Wednesday, January 17, 2007

Full of knit

I finished the socks! They lost a lot of their sheen when I washed them, though. Picot edging, sock was over my usual 80 sts, slip stitch heel.

Claudia Handpaint in Just Plum. 100% Merino. Size 1 needles (I think...).

Neck warmer that needs buttons (inspired, of course, by Brooklyn Tweed).

One skein Blue Sky Alpaca Bulky in polar, size 13 needles, though I probably could've gone up a size or two.

Potential Handkerchief:

Less than half a skein of KFI Patagonia Nature Cotton, fisherman's rib, size 5 needles.

AND! The socks!

Delicious... The purple is actually a bit deeper than that, but whatever whatever.

If I keep this up I'm going to have to renounce my title of "slowest knitter."

Tuesday, January 16, 2007


So I've knit up 1.5 potential handkerchiefs with Nature Cotton. I used fisherman's rib because it's cushy and seems like maybe absorbent? We'll see how it goes, but I'm cautiously, moderately optimistic.

I've been floundering a bit lately because I'm fighting to get a sweater's worth of Queensland Kathmandu Aran Tweed, and let me tell you, it's not as easy as it seems.

Well, not if you're semi-cheap, like me. Observe the ridiculous:

Queensland Kathmandu Aran Tweed = Jo Sharp Silkroad Tweed. Same content, same colors -- it's the same stuff. What's different is that 1. Silkroad tweed is easier to find (i.e. Webs has it), 2. Kathmandu has more yardage, and 3. Silkroad is more expensive.

I -- hang on. According to the Jo Sharp website there are 104 yards/ball, but according to Webs it's 93 yards/ball.


Even if Webs'd mistakenly put yards when they meant meters they're still off by 3 yards...

I emailed Webs. Stay tuned for inevitable excitement (though it's looking like the correct yardage is 104).

REGARDLESS, Silkroad (retailing about $8.50/ball) is still stupid more expensive than Kathmandu (retailing about $7/ball). But! On ebay it's $5.75/ball, and they're ordering some for me, so danceity-dance.

(Quick secret: I am totally falling in love with white tweeds. Esp. kathmandu/silkroad in goose. I could chew on it with love. Nahm nahm nahm...).

(I should probably wait to buy more, though, since I'm already getting a sweater's worth in jewel. Right? Should probably wait? Maybe? Or maybe go directly to goose, bypassing jewel? A puzzlement...).

So I'm waiting on that, but got impatient. The one full skein of sock yarn I have wasn't inspiring me (I have a pair of socks made with that color already), none of my stash was Speaking to me, until I realized! The perfect pattern for the buttery, buttery, luscious pink/light brown silk/merino blend deliciousness I got at SAFF!

And I ordered the pattern online, but they're mailing it to me and I have to wait (but I want it NOWWW). This didn't much help me in the manner of "immediate gratification," so I went through my magazines and -- oh yes!

Arch-shaped stockings by Meg Swansen, VK Fall 2006.

I went with two of my local knitterly friends and learned the hard way that the yarn store near where I work -- well, it's not very good. Most of their sock yarn is Opal patterning (ick), the varigated sock yarn is expensive, their color selection isn't very good, and, well, they just don't have much.

I knew that already, but this was sad. I had a skein of Debbie Bliss baby cashmerino which got gauge (7spi) on size 2 needles), but they didn't have any cream/white colors of baby cashmerino and they didn't have any regular cashmerino at all.

I had a beast of a time finding anything that might get gauge, and finally settled on Laines Du Nord Dolly something or other. Worsted. Whatever. So I picked up a nice deep purple and gray but then realized that the gray was more expensive by about a dollar.


I asked the local yarn lady and she said it was likely that it was more recent and Laines Du Nord had probably upped the price, and so they had to as well.

This was annoying.

I ended up with black and purple which, while very pretty, doesn't show the pattern terribly well, but I was desperate. I'm really enjoying the pattern, even if it is a bit of a challenge. More on that later.

#45. I am so much happier with a long term project and a couple of short term projects than I am finishing a bunch of little things in a short period of time. And now I have 3 large projects: an impending sweater, knee-high socks, and the Secret Project.

Thursday, January 11, 2007


I have two skeins of Nature Cotton that I got as a dyeing experiment before realizing that I didn't feel like doing all that was necessary to dye cotton (seems that wool is much easier). So what to do with the cotton? I couldn't think of (or find) any good patterns, it wasn't enough for a tank top or similar, so it just sat. And sat.

Then I was skimming Knittin' Notes' entry for today in which she mentions a kerchief.

It -- I -- YES! Yes of course! Of course!

See, I get allergies in the spring. No namby-pamby sniffles here, this stuff is wicked. I was at a party last spring and a friend thought I was drunk because I was so wrecked with snurgling and space-y-ness. Seriously.

I always go through a ton of tissues (my freshman year of college I tied a box of tissues to my belt because I needed so many so often), and every year I think that I should get some decent handkerchiefs so I don't ruin my nose (as much) on paper tissues (even the ones with lotion grate on my poor shnoz after a while). And every year I forget.

BUT! This year I will knit handkerchiefs! The yarn is soft! Hopefully absorbent! It will be oh-so-useful!

I am excited.

(Does anyone have any reason why this wouldn't work? I figure it'd be good to know that now...)

Wednesday, January 10, 2007

Quick like bunny

If you want 12 skeins of Dale of Norway Sisik then you should act soon! The bidding ends around 1pm today!

Thursday, January 04, 2007


Sock, demi-sock,

cold, and wine...

To all my web junkies stricken with winterly malaise (and there are a lot of us! Crikey), I hope we all get better soon.

#44. To a muggle colorwork is more impressive than cables. If only they knew (that both are similarly awesome)...

Monday, January 01, 2007

I'm just as surprised as you are

I only had a few rows left, so with Christmas gifts gifted I forced (forced!) myself to pick the beebee hat back up. Okay, maybe I started a new project first, but that didn't count! Didn't take much to finish, though I lost a stitch somewhere near the top and -- I dunno. It was weird, but it worked.

And I started my planned basic EZ raglan bottom-up sweater with Dale Sisik and got almost all of the hem done, and...

Decided I don't much like the yarn. It's lovely stuff: single ply wool with flecks of color, but it's just not me. Sooooo... I think I'm going to sell it and buy more-me yarn. Sisik yarn anyone? In navy blue with primary-color flecks?

Now that the sisik sweater has been discarded, what to do next? A basic EZ raglan bottom-up sweater in keener yarn? Or finally tackle the Rebecca Wrap With Sleeves?

I wonder, I wonder.

I'd like to make something out of Sundara's semi-solid yarn, but, eeee, it's expensive.

Also, I got sock yarn! (Cobalt still scares me. I'll get to that later). It's luscious. I bought it at Tangled Web (one of my LYSs in Philadelphia, the other being The Knit With, which may or may not sell up the yarn price by 50% (Bearfoot sock yarn at $40/skein? That seems really, really... not right)).

Mmm, Claudia handpaint...

Anklet socks. I was hoping for a nice eyelet pattern, but I couldn't find anything I liked. Straight stockinette it is, then.