Thursday, September 30, 2010


I came upon this charming little movie on the interwebs and had to share.

(edited to try to make the darn thing fit.)

Wednesday, September 29, 2010

Cables for a Kindle

A month or so ago, I decided I need a Kindle. I found myself poking around amazon one night, and somehow got drawn in by the little videos about their latest model, with all the upgrades and improvements. At the time, they weren't yet available; if they had been, I would probably have ordered one right then. That's how things work when I'm home alone, websurfing at night, with little willpower. I'm sure one or two of you might relate.

When my HLM got home, he reminded me that he has one of the second-generation Kindles that he got for a gift, and doesn't use it much. He offered to let me use it, and I happily took him up on it (even though I'm still secretly thinking I should get a new one -- I mean, the upgrades!)

So reading books on the Kindle has become my latest distraction while pedaling away on the stationary bike. I'm enjoying it a lot, although it's perhaps a bit too quick and easy to wirelessly download books, which might be encouraging my tendency to thoughtlessly overspend. It does mean I've been reading more lately than I have in a long time, so perhaps it's okay, anyway.

Thing is, if I want to bring the Kindle along with me (like to continue reading the book at work, for example) I have to put it in my purse, alongside keys and pens and lip balm and all manner of things that could muck it up one way or another. A more dedicated consumer would spend anywhere from $30 to $200 for a Kindle cover on amazon. As a stashbusting knitter, I immediately thought of a knitted sleeve for it. I had recently been going through my Vogue Stitchionary of cables, looking for inspiration, and decided to modify one of the asymmetrical cables to use on a Kindle sleeve. I didn't make a gauge swatch, but just started and restarted it a few times (changing needle sizes, adding stitches) until I was happy with it. I made a little chart for the cable to make the two sides mirror-images of one another, and thought I had the two sides spaced evenly, vertically, but it turns out I didn't. Then again, since the cable is asymmetrical, anyway, I suppose it doesn't hurt to have the two of them staggered asymmetrically, as well.

To sum up: I used up the last ball of Sublime Cashmere Silk Merino that I had hanging around, and our Kindle is protected from damage. Win-win.

Tuesday, September 28, 2010

Spot Check Socks

Despite falling off the face of blogland for a couple of weeks, I have nevertheless been crafting. I started a couple of new projects, and finished the second sock of this pair.

As I mentioned once before, I think, these are the Spot Check socks from the book Knitting Socks With Handpainted Yarn, and I made them with one wee skein of brightly coloured Koigu and a half a skein (or so) of deep dark brown Malabrigo sock, the two of which combined make them more than a little on the decadent side.

They are also super-warm, being two-stranded throughout the leg and foot. My mom is worried that my toes will get cold.

In fact, while I was knitting them, I thought it was a bit funny that the toes and heels were single-stranded, since those are so often the part of the sock that wears out first. Perhaps a smarter knitter would do the same double stranded pattern over the toe, as well, but using two ends of that same colour?

I have a few contenders for a second pair, using the other matching skein of Koigu that I have left over, but I'm not sure how crazy to take it. There are a lot of pairs of Spot Check socks on Ravelry that use two yarns that don't contrast as well, and the pattern is somewhat lost. One of the things I love most about this design is how well the variegated yarn stands out -- each little stitch is like a jewel of one pure colour. I'm not sure if I have anything in my stash (beyond black or white) that would let the pattern show up that well again.

More show and tell tomorrow.

Wednesday, September 15, 2010

Spot on

Yesterday afternoon, I finished the first one of the Spot Check socks. The photo includes the remaining Koigu to show two things:

1. that yarn is just as crazy as I said it was, and the sock pattern really tones down the crazy to something more reasonable.

2. the first sock used less than half a ball of the Koigu (yes, I weighed it) so I will be able to make the whole pair of socks using just one skein -- I will have another skein left to make a pair with a different background colour. I like this colourway with the brown, since it gives a bit of a 70s feel to the colour palette, but I would like it with black, too, I think (more 80s?) or maybe even something completely different.

Saturday, September 11, 2010

My Heart Beets 4U Socks

As I mentioned earlier, I finished these socks a few days ago, but got completely caught up in the next pair and neglected to blog about them.

The yarn I used is the last Rockin' Sock Club shipment, called Firecracker -- a bunch of lovely reds and purples which reminded a lot of people of a harvest of beets, which is one of the reasons that this pattern was called "My Heart Beets 4U."

The other reason, of course, is because there is a big garter stitch beet on the heel of the sock, which then spirals up into faux cables like beet greens sticking out the top of it. So cute!

It was this beet on the heel which cinched for me which sock I wanted to knit from the July shipment. While the other pattern was also lovely (and I'll probably knit it another day with another yarn) the beets were calling to me. (Yeah, I really love beets.)

The rest of the sock was the same simple faux cable, composed of yarnovers and decreases set up in such a way that the stitches seemed to twist like knitted cables, but rather than making the fabric tighter because of crossed stitches, it left it stretchier because of the yarnovers. Because of this, I once again chose to knit a medium foot, although I did the heel flap a bit longer (the length specified for the Large size) which gave me a little more wiggle room in the instep.

They fit very well and are completely gaudy and unreasonable. And they make me crave some of grandma's borscht.

Wednesday, September 8, 2010

Still On About Variegated Yarns

There are a few skeins in my yarn stash that I bought on impulse, because I was really drawn to the colours in them, when I first saw them. Sometimes I am pretty stumped about how to use them, though, and they just sit around for a long time while I ponder one possibility or another.

This week I had a sudden epiphany to use one of the brightest rainbow skeins of Koigu KPPPM that I have to make a pair of socks from the book Knitting Socks With Handpainted Yarn. It's a pretty simple pattern, where you alternate stitches of variegated yarn with stitches of solid yarn, to break up some of the craziness of the variegated. As you can see, it really works to tone down what would otherwise be a pretty eye-searing rainbow of Koigu.

The solid I'm using is Malabrigo sock (so delicious and soft) in a deep dark reddish-brown called Cordovan. To be honest, I wasn't sure how I was going to use this skein, either, since I felt the colour was too dark to show a stitch pattern very well. Fortunately I know from my weaving colour theory that dark colours work well with brights, leaving them as eye-popping as they originally were (as opposed to lighter colours, which tend to wash out brights when used together.) Since this stitch pattern alternates the two yarns, it gives an appearance similar to a plain weave using the same colours, so I was pretty sure my theories would play out well in reality. I am pretty excited about these -- in fact, I finished my Beet socks this afternoon and immediately cast on for these ones; I think the needles were still warm. What can I say? I'm a woman obsessed.

Tuesday, September 7, 2010

Twisty Knitting

Amongst my various projects, I have been continuing to work on my second pair of twisted stitch socks. I think we can all agree that the new yarn is showing the stitch pattern much more clearly, and I can vouch for it being way less splitty for this type of knitting. I am just up to the heel flap on the first sock, which means things are about to get easier -- no twisty stitches on the heel flap (although I briefly considered keeping the patterns going there) and then the sole of the foot will be stockingette, so I will only be doing the twisted stitch pattern for half the stitches.

The side of the leg is also great -- you can see the way the travelling stitches make a cool motif, the way they come together and spread out. The effect is less apparent on the front and back of the leg, because the patterns are spaced so much further apart.

I think it looks pretty good, so far, although I admit that I might like the first sock pattern better. This one seems a bit blocky, perhaps? What do you think?