Wednesday, April 27, 2011

Unicorn Socks

Okay, so I still don't have photos yet of the kool-aid dyed shawl, or various other things I should have photos of. I'm going to ease myself back into being a good blogger by showing you a very simple and mindless pair of socks.

These ones are the simplest of toe-up socks, using some self-striping sock yarn to add interest while allowing me to make some very quick and easy socks. I went through a little spree, recently, of buying self-striping sock yarn, when I decided I was running low on socks and would need to quickly replenish my drawer before I had to start wearing (gasp) store-bought socks. This particular pair uses Knit Picks Felici, in a colourway they call Moonlit, but I think looks like the palette of a little girl's room decorated with unicorns and mermaids. Or maybe I'm just revealing a bit too much about my childhood. I found the yarn to be a bit splitty, but very soft. It is a wool & nylon blend, so hopefully it will stand up fairly well. (I just wore a hole in the bottom of a pair of socks from Knit Picks Stroll, which were about a year old. I think I'm going to darn them, since they are otherwise in really good shape.)

For these socks, I used my standard: the Universal Toe-Up Sock Formula, but by now I just use the numbers from the formula and make the sock however I like. In this case, I did Judy's Magic Cast-on and a standard toe, then knit the whole length of the sock to the cuff before returning to open it up and knit an afterthought heel. I did the afterthought heel rather than a short-row heel because I didn't want to muss up the pattern of the stripes as the foot transitions to the leg, and also because I thought it would be nicer to have stripes around the heel rather than a block of one colour for the bottom and another block of colour for the top. If you've ever worked short rows in self-striping yarn, you know what I mean.

End result: a comfy and soft pair of socks in pretty stripes. Gimme the marker, Dude - I'm marking it an 8.

Sunday, April 10, 2011

After the Kool Aid

After a little trip to the microwave and a lot of rinsing, my little test skeins are ready for viewing.

As I'm sure you guessed, they are dyed with (from left to right) Grape, Lime, Cherry. The original Ruby Red wool/silk is across the top, for reference.

I like the bright red of the Cherry, but I already have another shawl that colour. I also like the brownish olive green the the Lime turned into, but I do have some Walnut brown wool/silk that I've been planning to use for a breezy lace cardigan, and I don't know that I need two brown lace items, just now.

Most of all, I love the deep almost-black purple that I got with the Grape: it's just what I was hoping for. I think we have a winner.

Saturday, April 9, 2011

Milk Cake

I had a dream last night that I was eating a bowl full of pieces of stale cake soaked in milk to rehydrate it. Think about that for a second. I could have had a dream about flying with valkyries to a Nordic castle inhabited by Alexander Skarsgard, but I had a dream about stale cake and milk. Weird, to say the least. (It reminds me of another dream I had, once, where I was eating turkey leftovers (not even a fresh hot meal, but leftovers) and was worried that my HLM was going to steal them away. I mean, to be fair, even leftovers of turkey dinner are worth protecting, it's true.)

I decided not to overanalyze the dream, but to take it as a sign that it was time to make a Tres Leches cake. Ever since I saw this recipe on Pioneer Woman, I've been lusting after it. Thanks to the milk cake dream, today was the day. I bought the requisite three types of milks at the store after work and came home to put this baby together. For the record, it's just as lovely as it looks. Perhaps I went a bit heavy on the whipped cream layer, but I hated to waste any, especially since it has just a teensy bit of my tequila vanilla in there.

I also (finally) finished the knitted lace edging of the Bridgewater shawl, a few minutes ago. Having finished it, I am thinking about overdyeing it before I block it out. Maybe it seems crazy, but I've made enough projects with this ruby red that I'm ready to have a shawl of a different colour now. (Note to self (and also to you): buying lace yarn on cones gives you a lot of yarn.)

So I tried out a few colours of kool aid to see how they look. This is clearly the Before shot. I can't wait for them to dry out!

Thursday, April 7, 2011

Canopy Socks

I finished these socks a while ago -- they have actually been through the wash a few times, already -- but somehow they got missed in the blog.

They were one of the last couple of pairs from the 2010 Rockin' Sock Club, and when I recently got an urge for a simple but satisfying sock, this one came to mind.

I made a few changes from the original design (Ravelry), since that's the kind of girl I am. I did a garter stitch cuff rather than the picot hem from the original -- this was partly about saving yarn and also because a garter stitch cuff will fit my wide calf better than folded hems generally do. Then I shortened the leg a bit, since the pattern suggests that a large size sock may take two skeins of yarn rather than one. I obviously wanted to get by with one skein, so I made it a little shorter. Then I changed the toe from the lacy leafy toe of the original to a plain stockingette standard toe. I'm very happy with the end result, overall.

The funny thing about these socks is that I actually used four needle sizes to make them. I started out with a 3.00 mm needle, thinking it was a 2.75 mm. After a bit, I realized my mistake, but rather than starting over, just went down to the intended needle size. After knitting part of the leg at that size, I decided it was still too big, and went down to 2.50 mm. By the foot, I actually went down to a 2.25 mm needle, to get a nice snug fit. It's pretty ridiculous, when you think about it, especially having to do it all over again for the second one. The good thing is that they fit nicely, since my calves are large and could use the extra room, anyway.

The fingerless mitts I mentioned last time are done, too -- I just need some photos. And I am down to the last quarter of the lace border on the rarely-mentioned Bridgewater Shawl. I have even sketched out plans for a new pattern or two of my own, to stretch my design muscles. Things are going well, here. How about you?