Sunday, January 8, 2012

Queen Alice Socks

The sweater problem that was plaguing me the last few days has been resolved, and after ripping back a few inches and redoing, I am heading back in the right direction, now. I'm pretty sure the hard part is over (famous last words?) and while I do intend to take a photo of the Work in Progress soon, I don't have one today, so in lieu of that, here's a pair of socks.

The first moment I laid eyes on the pattern for Queen Alice socks, I was enchanted: little daisies in the cuff and delicate twisty cables along the length of them, and that one big ol' cable filled with seed stitch, tumbling down the rabbit hole. I envisioned it in a bright vibrant colour, and dug a skein of Sweet Georgia's superwash sock out of my stash.

Funny story - when I saw this colour (called Dutch) online, I thought it was a bright golden yellow, with a tinge of orange to it. Of course, you never know whether a colour is accurate on your computer monitor, right?

When it arrived at my house, I was happy to see that it was precisely the vibrant hot yellow I had hoped it would be. So imagine my surprise when I pulled it out of my stash and wound it, a month ago, and realized that it's actually orange! It's super duper orange, and I don't know how I thought it was yellow, before. Seriously, like it's almost identical to the Hazel Knits orange I used for my Jubal Early socks, and if you recall, I totally made a huge deal out of how orange that yarn was. I swear this one was actually yellow, once. Or else I'm going crazy.

But I digress.

I did have a bit of an argument with these socks at the beginning. It was trial and error until I got the gauge right, and then having a good portion of the leg done, I decided that they were too tight at the right gauge, so I went up a needle size and then realized that the stitch pattern in the cuff was actually pulling in too much so I just did that part in plain ribbing instead. It all went smoothly after that, and all I had to do was switch back down to the right size needle at the heel flap. I also changed the decreases at the toe, but that's nothing major.

They actually knit up fairly quickly, considering the complex stitch pattern. At the beginning, I thought I'd never memorize it (like I always do) but somewhere past the halfway point of the first sock, I had it memorized (like I always do) and it was smooth sailing.

Great pattern + great yarn = awesome socks.

Thursday, January 5, 2012

Cabled Blanket

I decided to participate in a loosely-defined knitalong with TFA yarns this month, to start off the new year right. However, I just hit a bump in the road and may have to rip back a ways on said project, so why don't we just talk about something else today, instead?

Last spring, my HLM was bragging to his family about how crafty I am, and he suggested that I make them a quilt or something, to give to them as a gift. I suggested an knitted blanket, instead, since it'd been a while since I made one and I had a hankering. I gave him a few options, and he chose this free pattern from Bernat. I hemmed and hawed a bit about what to knit it with, but ultimately decided on Knit Picks Swish Bulky, so that it would be machine-washable. He also picked the yarn colour, a now-defunct Douglas Fir.

I started knitting it in the spring, but of course the weather eventually got the better of me, as it got too hot to knit with a growing bulky-weight blanket on my lap, so it got set aside for a few months and then picked up again in the fall. I ended up ordering a few more skeins, as well (this was during a particularly difficult time when I had three projects on the go for which I seemed to have underestimated my yarn needs.) I ended up using 14 skeins in total, before I was happy with the length of it.

In the end, the blanket seems somewhat narrow, but it's because of the way the cables and the purl columns between them make it draw in like ribbing. If you actually sit under it, it will spread quite wide and really curls around you for a comfy couch experience. The cables are really squishy and luscious, which is why I loved the look of this blanket, initially. It will be a super warm and cozy blanket for naps on the couch.