Saturday, May 29, 2010

Not Funny, God.

Seriously. Snow. On May 29th?? I feel my patience is really being tested, here.

Thankfully I have this spectacular Matcha Green Tea Latte, made with some hot vanilla almond milk and deliciously green matcha powder. Please take note of the sweet mug, which my HLM brought home for me from his recent trip. I've got him trained, I tell ya.

Also, I have this lovely little sock to keep me happy. I've been wanting to try my hand at pattern-designing, for a while, now. Lately I've been thinking a lot about socks, about shawls. When I went to my LYS the other day, to spend some birthday gift certificates, I intended to buy some sort of lace pattern book, but instead was charmed by one on Austrian twisted stitch knitting. Of course a sock is a perfect place to showcase this type of stitching, but in a manageable amount.

Basically I just went through the book and found a few different stitch patterns that I liked, which had the same repeat length (I didn't really want to go crazy trying to keep track of what row I was on, on every given pattern, after all) and lined them up next to each other in a way I found aesthetically pleasing. The one on the far right is going to be down each side of the leg, and the marquise shape will run down the center of the leg and foot. Bear in mind that this sock has 10 stitches to the inch in stockingette. Not exactly a quick knit. But don't you love it?? I am almost to the heel flap on this one, and then I get to change things up a bit for the gusset (and thankfully start knitting some stockingette for the sole. Phew.)

Friday, May 28, 2010

Socks: the Fisherman & His Wife

The final touches on the socks went off without any further problems: I used some of my leftover KnitPicks Essential to knit the toe, and while it doesn't really match, it's close enough that it doesn't scream out how different it is. I can't really say "lesson learned" either, since of all the many cuff-down socks I've knit, this is the first time I've run out of yarn at the toe. I imagine I'll keep making that gamble, in the future. I suppose that I could get really neurotic about it and start weighing yarns and winding two balls for two socks, etc. I'd rather stay relaxed and have fun and run the risk of having funny-coloured sock toes.

As for the pattern itself, I really love the look of the chevron, and think it would look good with some of the more variegated sock yarns I have. I may revisit it, though I doubt I would use the linen-stitch heel and toe. I find the stitch is a bit stiff at the toe, especially. I'm sure it will last better against wear and tear, but I'd rather have a softer comfy toe, I think.

As I mentioned previously, these socks were from a kit by Sanguine Gryphon. When you buy it, you get everything you need for the socks (sans needles), plus a little scroll with the story of the Fisherman & His Wife, which tells the tale of a man who catches a magical fish that grants wishes. If you have socks made of ocean waves, one day you just might find a little fishie swimming by, along the leg.

Catch him in the net and make a wish!

Tuesday, May 25, 2010

Grr Argh

As you can see, the yarn gobbling monster that is this sock has eaten up all of the yarn, and with one repeat and the toe left to go. I thought long and hard about how to deal with this (since I saw it coming not long after I finished the gusset) but ultimately decided to use some leftover blue yarn from other projects. It is far from a perfect match, but is better than any of the other ideas I came up with.

Funny thing is: back on the first sock, I had to decide how long to make the leg. The pattern doesn't say anything different about the leg length for a size Large than for other sizes. Often they will specify if the leg needs to be shorter on the Large, to ensure you won't run out of yarn. I decided to gamble and make the leg the length they give (where so often I decide to make the leg shorter and end up with loads of leftover yarn.) Well, sometimes in gambling, you lose. Oh well. They'll still be cute socks: you haven't even seen the punchline yet.

Thursday, May 20, 2010

Then There's This Stuff

Being so caught up in the effort of getting photos of the shawl, I have been pretty remiss about posting progress on the various other things I've been working on. I am nearly finished a second sock already -- these ones are from Sanguine Gryphon (Love.) I got the kit for them at Sock Summit last year, so they've been waiting a while for me to get around to them. As you can see, they have a cute little chevron pattern like waves in the ocean. There are many shades of blue in this yarn, and initially I didn't love some of the greyer blues in there, but they are all shades of the sea and it has certainly grown on me while I knit it.

I am also nearly done a knitting bag that I have had in my queue for literally years. I bought this Berroco Suede yarn at a great discount from years ago, planning to use it for this exact pattern. For years it's sat here: all I was missing were the handles. Last month I decided to finally pull it out of my stash and make it. I was unsuccessful finding the right handles anywhere online, so I improvised, and bought something similar enough that I can make it work. The finishing is all that's left on this one: lining with some cute fabric, attaching grommets and tassels and handles. I am still waiting for the handles in the mail, and then I will throw it all together. Don't you love how this stitch pattern looks in the Suede? Yum.

I even have a new project ready to fill that bag -- with some of my birthday gift certificates, I went to my LYS and picked up some lovely DK merino from King Cole. The red shade is hard to capture, but trust me that it's a lovely cherry red colour and should make a very nice cardigan for work. With the weather in the 30C range this week, buying merino sounds pretty crazy, but frankly, the air conditioning at work will ensure that I need a warm wooly cardigan year round. The gauge swatch is done for this one, so I'm ready to cast on -- stay tuned!

Wednesday, May 19, 2010

Aeolian Shawl

As I mentioned in my last post, I finished this one a while back (just in time for it to be a birthday present to myself) and have finally managed to get my photographer to take a few photos.

It took me about a month and a half to knit it, all told (though I was never really faithful to it, and was working on various other projects at the same time.) It was precisely the kind of lace project that I had a hankering for -- large and complex and lovely.

I think I mentioned before that I used some JaggerSpun Zephyr laceweight that I had in my stash -- and I still have tons left, so expect to see more purple shawls in the future. I also had a bunch of beads for another project that I ended up using for this one. You can't really see them in these photos, but they give a bit of substance to the shawl. Zephyr is so light and airy that this shawl would be barely there without the beads -- I really like what they added to the fabric.

The pattern itself isn't hard, but between adding hundreds of beads and making all those nupps, it's pretty time-consuming. The blocking and pinning was a real chore, though. It took forever to pin out all those little points. That being said, I would totally do it again, maybe in something a bit fluffier. I mean, I would, if there weren't so many other shawls out there for me to knit.

I have worn it a lot -- wrapped around my neck like a scarf or worn like a shawl. I really love it. Another successful stash yarn project into the FO pile.

Wednesday, May 12, 2010

Slip Jig Socks

Well, I know I've been a bad monkey and haven't been posting very much -- I finished my Aeolian Shawl, like, a week ago, but haven't been able to coordinate with my photographer to get some photos. Today I finished my Slip Jig socks, and I can manage photos of those, myself, so here we are.

This yarn and pattern come from the second Rockin' Sock Club kit of 2010. Again, there were two pattern options with the yarn, and these socks were the ones that cried out to me. A very simple pattern to knit (and to memorize) -- but that doesn't mean that there weren't a couple of bumps in the road.

I chose the large size, of course (because of my much-bemoaned amply-sized feet) and the leg is nice and roomy. The foot, however, turned out too large. As I mentioned previously, I had to rip it back to the heel flap and make the heel flap shorter, then do a handful of decreases to make the gusset circumference a bit smaller. After that, they fit pretty good. If I did these socks again, I would probably do a few decreases in the leg portion, just before the gusset, to go from a Large to a Medium. Then I would knit the foot in the smaller size.

At the toe, I moved the toe decreases one stitch over -- the original pattern has the decreases in the stitch next to the little cable pattern. I liked the look better when it was the cable itself that ate up the stitches next to it. It was a little fiddly (particularly on the slipped-stitch rounds) but I think it is more aesthetically pleasing.

If you are worried that I've finished all my knitting projects, don't. I have two more on the go that I haven't even gotten around to showing off, yet.

Tuesday, May 4, 2010

You Can Tell it's May

because of the lovely weather.

Seriously. Kill me now.

Sunday, May 2, 2010

Dragon Claw Fingerless Gloves

One of my very bestest good friends is in China right now, studying Kung Fu at the Wudang Temple. One of the techniques she is studying is called Dragon Claw, which I'm sure is as badass as it sounds.

When I blogged about my Tooth and Claw socks, she admired them and thought that maybe someday she would make herself a pair. When I read that, I knew that what she really needed were fingerless gloves, for some real dragon claws.

I initially imagined them in a bright red, since red is an auspicious colour in China. When I came upon this shade of green from Madelinetosh, however, I forgot all about the red. Not only is it one of her favourite colours, it is also called "Jade" which seemed perfect for bringing her luck in her studies. The shades in this yarn do not disappoint. As has been my experience with tosh sock, the yarn is lovely and soft and strong and the colours have such depth and life to them. Exquisite.

The gloves knitted up quickly, and I finished them a month or so ago -- I've been keeping them pretty quiet until the package finally reached her, halfway around the world. Now that she has them, I can brag about how great they are.

I unvented a ribbing pattern to match up with the main stitch pattern for the gloves, and kept the ventral side of the glove pure stockingette. They are a bit snug on my arm, since she is much slimmer than I am, but they still fit so comfortably that I would wear them, and joyfully. I used a larger needle for the ribbing and one repeat of the stitch pattern at the wrist end, and knit them plenty long for the arm.

Also great: they actually used less than half of the skein of yarn, so I could even make another pair, or use it for something else. Awesome.

Finally, a photo of the badass girl herself, sporting her new Dragon Claw gloves in China -- yeah, she could totally kick your ass.