Siren’s Song of Stripey Yarn

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Oh this dangerous yarn. I rescued it from a twined hat project. The yarn was making a beautiful, warm hat. Unfortunately, I did not enjoy the twining process. The yarn was too lovely to languish as a WIP so I frogged it.

I wish I had thought to give it a relaxing bath. My twining was so tight that the yarn lost some of its bounce. Fortunately, it is knitting up well.

Never mind that I already have two hats on the needles. They are both displeasing me. There was no way to resist the siren’s call of this soft, warm, lovely yarn.

After casting on, I have stayed up far too late because watching the colors change is so beguiling. The dishes aren’t yet washed. The laundry awaits. Time to stop knitting.

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Toe Up

Last night I broke the Panda Silk out of stash and started my first pair of toe up socks.

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First I need to learn Judy’s Magic Cast-On.  I watched the Cat Bordhi’s  video on YouTube to learn how. Soon there was a big needle bird flapping across my lap and biting the vine. Then their was a strange tick-tock clock helping me remember the sequence for wrapping the stitches. (Watch the video and all will be explained.)

I wanted to knit the socks in Magic Loop style, but I figured for my first attempt at the cast on I should at least start the socks separately.  From my first attempt, this cast on worked well.  However, then I couldn’t quite figure out how to get both socks onto the one long needle, so I frogged and started again on the magic loop needle.  That went well and moved along quickly until I realized that I had only cast on 8 stitches per sock instead of 16.  It looked like I was knitting little toy bear ears.  I frogged and started again.

The next attempt was fraught with cat interruptions. Miss Kapas decided she really needed to be pet a whole bunch right then.  I must have picked the socks up backwards because soon I  had a purl row on both sides of the sock.  I frogged again.

My next attempt was good but now it was late at night.  This morning I went back to work on them and finished the toes.  I have to say it is much nicer to cast on 16 stitches per sock instead of the usual 64.  And the magic cast on looks nicer than my Kitchener stitch usually does even though they should look the same.

Next time I knit, I’ll start the pattern. It is the Ribbed Lace sock from Socks from the Toe Up by Wendy D. Johnson. I chose it for a number of reasons.

  1. It is written as a toe up pattern.
  2. It has a regular toe, not a short row one.
  3. It has a heel flap.
  4. It has a flap and gusset in the “correct” place. Some toe up socks have it in a place that doesn’t seem as comfortable.
  5. It makes a very stretchy fabric to compensate for the lack of memory in the Panda Silk yarn.

I figured that for my first toe up attempt, I wanted a pattern that had it all written out.  I know it isn’t difficult to substitute a different type of toe or heel, but I wanted my first attempt to be one where I can follow along without making any changes.

I’m knitting the socks on 40″ size #00 needles.  The yarn is quite fine for fingering weight.

Have you knit with Panda Silk?  How did it hold up?  If you made socks, did they stay up?

Help! Everything I’m Knitting is Blue!

Okay, at the moment there are a number of strong trends in my knitting.

  1. I keep having to restart projects because they aren’t fitting.
  2. I keep frogging projects because I decide they won’t work as started.
  3. I’m becoming a sockhead.
  4. Everything I’m knitting is blue.

I’m not quite sure how that last list item came to be, but I have plenty of ideas on the first three.

Yes. I am not knitting gauge swatches. Knitting a gauge swatch seems a lot like actually knitting the sock, so I’d rather just jump in, especially since I can so easily try the socks on as I knit them.

I extended this philosophy to knitting a pair of hand warmers and found a flaw in my thinking.  I started knitting the Malabrigo Hand Thingies and first the fabric seemed too loose so I went down a needle size. Then I went down another needle size because they seemed so loose and I knew I would hate wearing them if the cuffs weren’t snug.

Malabrigo Hand Thingies

However, the cuffs are knit in a purl two rows, knit 3 rows type of pattern and that does not behave like ribbing or stockinette.  As I knit farther on, the cuffs seemed to do a magic shrinking trick and soon I could barely pull them on. So I frogged and started again on bigger needles. At least  I’ve learned a bunch and I’m getting much faster at the pattern. These are for my trip to New Zealand. I know it is summer there, but I’ve got thin, tropical blood now and they’ve been having temps in the 40’s and 50’s.  That is going to feel cold to me and I want to knit in the car.

Snow Drop Lace Scarf

Another  project that I frogged project was this lovely Snow Drop Lace scarf. I was knitting really well; my best lace so far. The Dream in Color yarn was so lovely that every time I’d catch sight of it I wanted to drop everything and knit it. I like the pattern although I suspect it will be pretty dull by repeat 50. So why frog it? I decided the pattern would look better in lace weight yarn. The Smooshy is pretty thick so it is a bit bulky for the pattern. I can block it a bunch when I’m done, but why not use such smooshy yarn for socks as it was intended?

And so my another of my WIPs is a pair of Garter Rib socks for me. I know. I seem obsessed with this pattern. I’m knitting this pair for me in hand painted yarn that doesn’t stripe because I’m doing some research knitting.

Smooshy Garter Rib Socks

I’m trying to devise a more cushioned sole because I’ve been displeased with the thin soles on the two pairs I made for Kent. Granted, those were not all wool. They were blended with bamboo which made them much less sproingy. However, my plan, thanks to a suggestion in Ravelry by ladiosaRosa, is to hold two strands together for the sole, and carry that strand over the instep. Then, when the sock is done, I cut those instep strands, leaving a long enough tail that they won’t pull through.

I had though of doing heel stitch on the sole, but kind Ravelers pointed out that heel stitch is shorter than stockinette or garter rib, so I’d need to work in short rows to make the sole as long as the instep. I also wondered how it would feel to walk on. This method will waste yarn, but I’m going to give it a try anyway. Smooshy comes in a generous hank so I should have plenty of yarn. Do you think it will work?

Yet another frogged project was the Fixation on Lace socks.  They were also turning out fine after a few false starts and the insertion of stitch markers after each repeat.  I love how the pattern looks in the book, but as I started looking up FOs of it in Ravelry, I made the disheartening discovery that I don’t actually like how it looks when people wear it.

That yarn is now in the process of becoming a pair of Pretty Comfy socks.  I just finished the cuff last night and started the lace, but I frogged the lace today because I realized that the way I was intepretting the pattern to be knit two at a time on two cirucular needles rather than one at a time on DPNs, was flawed.  Luckily I was only a few rows in when I realized my bad reasoning, so not much is lost.

Pretty Comfy

Notice the lovely stitch markers? They are from Ayumi. I’m pretty sure she made them!  Amazing.

Why so many socks on my needles? The usual reasons…

  • They are portable.
  • They are useful, even here in Singapore.
  • They don’t require much yarn.
  • I have quite a bit of sock yarn in  my stash.
  • I’m getting better at them and learning lots which is gratifying.

Are those good enough reasons to become a sockhead?

I can’t explain the last item. I don’t quite know how I ended up with all WIPs being blue.  I have plenty of other colors in my stash.  Any suggestions? Should I seek medical help?

Another hat and a Bit of Organization

I finished another premmie hat and guess what? It is even smaller than the previous hats. My small stack of hats is starting to look like Russian stacking dolls. It is humbling to realize how irregular my gauge is. I’m working on a fourth hat but don’t think I can finish it in time. However, I’m curious to see where it fits. I think it is going to be slightly bigger than the previous one. Go figure.

The final hat won’t be finished in time because I need to rip it back a bit. I was working in the taxi and I should have quit when it got dark, but it was just too fun to be knitting. Now I get to clean up the mistakes. In any case, I’ll try to snap a photo of all of them before I mail them off this week.

I’ve been trying to organize my knitting supplies. This notebook was the first of my efforts. It isn’t photogenic, but it does hold all my circular needles. I created one page for each size needles. I even made pages for sizes I don’t have, since I cannot easily insert pages into this binder. I labeled each page with both the US and the metric measure of the needles to make it easier to grab what I need for a new pattern.

My next step was to scurry around our home looking for needles. Needles must be pack animals by nature because most of my were gathered in a few locations. As I placed them into the notebook, I came to the realization that I have far more size 2 needles than any one person should probably own. All are circular. Some are addi. Some are Hiya Hiya. Some are Crystal Palace bamboo. Most have 16″ or 24″ lengths. I had no idea I had such a collection.

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I am also looking for plastic bins that fit the bottom shelf of the closet. I think I’ll store my small stash organized by yarn weight. This bin holds all my sock yearn. I have realized I can fit a slightly larger bin into the closet so the next ones I purchase will be larger.

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Until now I’ve stored the yarn in basket drawers, but I’ve seen small moths in our home, so I don’t want to take any more chances. From now on the yarn will be stored in plastic bins that have no holes or gaps. Hopefully the shops across the street will get in just the perfect bins.

How do you store your stash? Does it work for you or are you contemplating a change?

A Fit of Insanity

Okay. All I can say is, it’s Ayumi’s fault. One minute I’m a mild-mannered tech coordinator, and the next I’m ordering kits to knit toy animals. That doesn’t sound so deranged until you realize that the kits are in Japanese, and I DON’T READ JAPANESE!

I was using Babel Fish to translate the site and thinking, “This isn’t so hard. I should be able to translate what I need.” So I ordered. Then I realized that they aren’t sending me an electronic set of directions that I can paste into Babel Fish to translate. They will be sending me a paper pattern in the kit. Even if I scan it in, it will be a photo, not something I can feed into Babel Fish for translation.

And so I decided to go back in and cancel my order. But first, I looked at them one more time…

little elephant toy kit bull terrier toy kit

What was I thinking? Who could resist these? Plan B is to rely on friends who speak Japanese to help me translate. Blatant abuse of friendship, yes? Maybe I need to hire our school Japanese teacher to translate. That might be best.

Of course, all of this implies I have time to knit, which I don’t. I did knit on the plane last weekend on my way to and from a conference in Shanghai, but no time to knit once I was there. Did squeeze in almost 30 minutes this week because I actually went somewhere besides work so I had time to knit in taxis. As a result, my dad’s scarf is almost back to the point it was two weeks ago when I frogged it. I looks just the same so I won’t post a new photo, but it feels much softer since my knitting is much looser. Not lose, just looser.

Now I thought I finally had a whole day off to sleep and workout and write letters that are months overdue. Now Kent reminds me that friends are in town today from Korea and we are scheduled to see them. It will be a treat to see them, but this introverted girl is dying for some quiet time at home. Big apologies to all who are still waiting for me to respond to letters.

A Wednesday Night Knitting Group

Just home from a lovely time with a Wednesday night knitting group that meets at a Panera restaurant. I greatly enjoyed my time with them. They welcomed me in and then kept up a steady stream of interesting talk while I tried to learn to knit two socks at once on two circular needles.

I’m loving the project and the yarn is super soft so it should make comfy socks. However, as this is very early on in my sock career, I may need to backtrack and work on just one sock at a time.

Louise taught me a truly cool way to start the sock from the toe. Knitting the sock on circulars feels so much more natural than those pesky DPNs which seem to encourage the yarn to leap off when I’m not watching. I can almost hear their taunting, “C’mmon! You can do it! Are you chicken or what? Just jump!”

Louise is a talented, patient teacher. She’s been teaching this process long enough that it only takes her a glance to identify my new mistake and tell me how to correct it.

All in all, a most satisfactory evening. (The evening began with a visit to another LYS. Won’t write about that until I have time to download my photos.)

Home Again, Home Again, Jiggity Jig

After a month of not much knitting due to the crazed end of school, I’m finally back in the US.

Flight home SHOULD have been a great time to knit, but in my packing frenzy, I tossed in the WRONG SIZE NEEDLE for my yarn. Oh the agony of 20+ hours of flight and not able to advance on my project.  I still played around a bit with my sticks and string, but my heart wasn’t in it since it didn’t look good.  Have since frogged it all and started again on my #8 needles and it looks much better.

What is it, you ask?  It is the scarf I started knitting months ago for Tammy. She’s moving to cold Belgium and I think that warrants a nice toasty scarf to keep her warm and make her feel loved.

Why has it languished so long unfinished?  Because I started it back when my knitting was so tight it resembled felt.  Once I loosed my gauge, I realized I couldn’t finish it with two different gauges, so I left it for my long flight to the US.  It was a good plan…

And what, you may ask, of the other scarf?  My lovely mohair/wool one?  That is not a UFO because I have finally listened to the  yarn and it has been oh so politely telling me that it does not want to be a scarf.  It doesn’t like look like an elephant’s trunk warmer any more than I like it looking that way.  And so I have agreed to rip it out and make something else with it. For now, it is back snug and safe in my stash.

And what about that other UFO, my Grace Kelly scarf?  That is still on my needles but I didn’t bring it on the plane because it is on metal needles and I didn’t want to risk them not being allowed on board.  My Tammy scarf was on bamboo– (Clover bamboo needles Ayumi!)

Will take photos.  I actually have photos of the Grace Kelly scarf but haven’t had time to download them.  It isn’t very photogenic.  It is getting a bit misshapen but Lois assures me that will block out just fine. In any case, it is a fun project and I think my aunt will like it. It is in her colors.  Or she might NOT like it, not classy enough.  I’ll need to decide because if she won’t like it, I’ll keep it and use it.  So There.