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Friday, April 29, 2011

Snowbird

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Done and blocking!

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Thursday, April 28, 2011

Socks

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I thought I'd give you a break from Snowbird and show you how Mickael's socks are going. I switched from the Blackthorn needles to my trusty bamboo needles because dark gray stitches on black needles just isn't that easy to work with. This is the first sock but I'm a little more than halfway down the leg.

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Wednesday, April 27, 2011

Snowbird

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Do you see that corner? Do you know what that means? I'm binding off! I'll still have to go back and knit pocket linings and then there's a lot of finishing up to do before I'm really finished, but the majority of this cardigan is all finished!

There was a question in the comments last time I blogged Snowbird about the i-cord edgings. This is a place I modified the original pattern. As the pattern is written, the front bands (and cuffs and hems) are in Stockinette Stitch and the edges just roll naturally. I decided to use Seed Stitch for my front bands (and cuffs and hems) because I adore Seed Stitch. I just love it's little bumpy goodness. Love. It. Seed Stitch doesn't roll (in fact, it's very well behaved and makes a beautiful, flat edge all by itself, did I mention how much I love it?) and I did like the rolled edge look of the original design. I had just finished Coraline right before I started Snowbird and Coraline uses an i-cord edge, so I figured if I added an i-cord edge to Snowbird, it would give a rolled look to my Seed Stitch and finish if off nicely. (If you do a search for i-cord cardigans in Ravelry, you'll get 11 pages of patterns - now some just use i-cord as embellishment and but the majority do seem to use it as edgings.) I used two different techniques for the i-cord on this project - I worked it along the edges as I knit the cardigan (front bands) and I used an i-cord bind off (cuffs and lower hem).

If you've never knit i-cord, you should give it a try and you do need to at least understand how it works before you use it or you're going to think the directions are crazy. You'll need two DPN's, of an appropriate size for your yarn. Cast on 3 stitches. (I used 3 stitch i-cord for Snowbird, so that's how I'll give directions.) Knit 3. *Without turning your work (your stitches are on the needle in your Right hand), slide the stitches to the other end of the needle and pass the Right needle to your Left hand, still without turning your work. Your working yarn will be all the way to the left and this will feel very, very wrong, but trust me, you're doing this right. Pull the working yarn over to the right keeping it behind your work (on the WS) and Knit 3. Repeat from * until your i-cord is the length you need it to be. The trick is to pull the working yarn tight across the back side of the work so that the first and third stitch are pulled together, making a cord. Here's a video of making i-cord if that helps.

To work i-cord edgings while you knit something in between (like a cardigan), it's a little bit different, but the principles are the same. Instead of using DPN's, you'll use a circular needle to hold all the stitches. You'll be using 3 stitches at each end of each row for your i-cord edgings, so, depending on your pattern, you might want to cast on an additional 6 stitches to compensate. I also put a marker between the i-cord edgings and the Seed Stitch front bands just to remind myself to pay attention. To begin, work a WS row as a setup row and keep the first 3 and last 3 stitches in Stockinette. (Since the setup row is WS, these should be purled.) Then you'll work as follows: RS rows- Slip 3 stitches with yarn held to wrong side, work to last 3 stitches in whatever stitch pattern you're using, end K3. WS rows- Slip 3 stitches with yarn held to wrong side, work to last 3 stitches in pattern, end P3. By slipping the first 3 stitches of each row, you're creating the i-cord on the edge of your work. The thing to remember with doing it this way is that you're only actually knitting (or purling) your edgings every other row while the main part of your cardigan is being worked on every row. If you pull your i-cord too tight it will draw up and make your fronts hang funny. No one wants funny hanging fronts, so be aware that you need to slip the stitches loosely but not too loosely or it will look sloppy. I can't be any more precise than that, just pay attention on the first few rows and you'll get a feel for your yarn and your gauge.

To do an i-cord bind off, I started it two different ways, but the bind off itself was identical once I got past the start. For the lower hem, I already had an i-cord edge so I didn't need to cast on anything extra. I did work knit one row on the three i-cord stitches to get the yarn where it needed to be to start the bind off and to give myself a little extra length to turn the corner. On the sleeves, I had just finished the Seed Stitch cuffs and didn't have an i-cord to work off of for the bind off, so I just cast on 3 stitches at the beginning of the bind off. (I probably used the backwards loop cast on.) Once you have your i-cord stitches, either from an existing i-cord edging or from a cast on, you work the bind off the same. *K2, SSK (you're using the last stitch from the i-cord and the first stitch from the thing you're binding off to work the SSK). Slip all three stitches back to the left needle without twisting them. Pull the working yarn back to the right behind the first stitch (tight enough to make i-cord, not so tight you make your lower edge pucker up), and rep from * all the way across the edge. Here's a video of the technique although she uses a K2tog tbl instead of a SSK - both are left leaning decreases. Once all the stitches are bound off, you'll have the three stitches from the i-cord left. On the sleeves, I put these on a stitch holder, sewed up the sleeve seams and I will Kitchener Stitch the i-cord ending together with the i-cord beginning. On the hem, I will bind off until the three i-cord stitches from the end remain as well as the three stitches I was using for the bind off, and then Kitchener Stitch them together immediately. By Kitchener Stitching the i-cord ends together, you keep the roundness of the i-cord and get a seamless corded edging. I know that not everyone likes to Kitchener, but it's only 3 stitches at a time and the finished look is worth it.

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Tuesday, April 26, 2011

Taygete

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I did get some work done on Taygete this weekend. I'm still on the garter stitch stripe section, but I'm about 2/3 of the way through with that. That's 2/3 of the way through according to rows, not by actual knitting. Since the rows are getting shorter as I go, I'm even farther along. Even though I'm working with two different colors at once, this garter stitch section has worked out well for TV knitting. As long as you start each row the right way, you can go to autopilot for the rest of the row.

There was a question on yesterday's blog post (Snowbird) about how I was doing the i-cord. I don't know if the question was about the i-cord edging I've knitted onto the front edges of the cardigan or about the i-cord bind off I used on the sleeves and will use on the lower edge, but I'll explain both tomorrow when I show you Snowbird again. Hint: neither is difficult and it gives you a different edge option for your repertoire of knitting techniques.

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Monday, April 25, 2011

Snowbird

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I'm definitely on the homestretch of Snowbird! I've started the Seed Stitch on the lower border. This, plus the i-cord bind off will be the lower edge of the cardigan. (I used seed stitch and an i-cord bind off on the sleeves also.) I'll have to go back and knit pocket linings to finish this project, but I am definitely getting there. I'm really hoping to have this all done by the end of April and I don't think it will be too hard to do that.

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Thanks for all the positive feedback on part one of the sock thing. I'll do more of that this week, but it will be later in the week. It takes some time to get my thoughts organized and a blog post written. At least that will give you a break from Snowbird also.

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Friday, April 22, 2011

Essential Parts of A Sock and How They Work Together

If we're going to discuss modifying sock patterns and adapting them to fit the feet of those you love and knit for, it seems like a good idea to start with a good basic understanding of what goes into a sock. By starting at the very beginning (it's a very good place to start, after all) we'll all be on the same page as far as the basics, regardless of our actual sock knitting experience. Then when we get to the modifying and adapting part, you'll understand these basics and how they relate to each other in the whole sock.

When I began knitting socks I followed the patterns exactly. I didn't put much thought into it, (except after the heel turn where clearly, magic had happened and each heel turn got a dramatic pause of appreciation) but I just kept doing what the pattern told me to do. I remember the exact pair of socks that slapped me upside the head and made me realize, that maybe I needed to put some more thought into my sock knitting than I had previously. You see, I have narrow feet. I had successfully knit socks with 64 stitches around in an average fingering weight yarn before. Using needles in US 1 (2.25 mm). The pattern that made me have a lightbulb moment called for 64 stitches around in average fingering weight and US 2's (2.75 mm). Obviously, my feet swam in those socks like dolphins in the ocean (which is good if you're a dolphin but bad if you're a foot).

As I continued knitting socks, I began to notice that the majority of the sock patterns I was using had some proportional things in common. I started paying attention and started changing sock patterns to knit for Mickael and Caleb as well as adapting patterns to my handspun yarn. Sure enough, as long as I kept the proportions in mind, I could produce socks for any of our feet in any yarn. Now obviously not everyone has the same shape of foot, but if you know how your feet are different from the "average" foot, you can tweak the proportions and still get a nicely fitted sock.

A few things I should note here before we get into this is that I will be using Top Down (cuff to toe) socks knit on Double Points for my model for this discussion. There will be a lot of similarities to Toe Up socks and once you have your numbers figured out, you can just apply them to the parts of the sock you're working. If you knit your socks sideways, or wrong side out and backwards, you might not get too much out of this discussion. If you prefer to Magic Loop your socks, I am going to assume that you know how to adapt a pattern written for DPN's to your particular needle situation. I'm not personally a big fan of circular needles and the idea of using circular needles for acrobatic sock tricks really makes me a bit nauseous. If you've learned how to do this, recheck the book/site you learned it on and I bet there are directions for adapting from DPN's to your technique. Also, I will keep the math as simple as I possibly can, but there will be a little bit of math. Don't panic, I'll be right here.

Parts of a Sock
  • Gauge - This is often ignored by sock knitters, but affects fit in socks the same way it does in a sweater. There's just not as much knitting in a sock. Usually. Gauge is the number of stitches per inch (I almost never fool around with rounds per inch on socks and so far it's worked out) that a particular knitter gets on a specific size and type of needle, with a specific yarn. This means that your sock gauge will not match your best friend's. Your gauge on bamboo needles might be different from your gauge on metal needles, even if the needles are exactly the same size. Different yarns will also affect your gauge. The more socks you knit, the more experience with your own gauge you will have and the fewer gauge swatches you'll need to make, but until you get an idea of where your gauge tends to be, you'll need to swatch a bit. Most sock patterns will usually give gauge in stockinette stitch so cast on about 20 stitches onto the DPN's you plan to use and start knitting in stockinette. Now I should probably tell you to knit your gauge swatch in the round, but honestly I've always just knit mine back and forth and so far everything has worked out just fine. I usually knit for about an inch (again, I should probably tell you that bigger swatches are more accurate than tiny, postage stamp swatches, but whatever) and then start checking my gauge. Lay a ruler down on the little swatch and start counting stitches per inch. If you're happy with the look of the stitches (tight stitches on socks are a good thing and make the socks wear longer, but too-tight stitches on socks can make your hands turn into painful claws of misery that you won't be able to straighten out for months - use your own judgement here) and you like the way the yarn and needles are playing together, write down your gauge as the number of stitches per inch. If you're looking for a specific gauge, remember that smaller and grippier needles will give you more stitches per inch while bigger and more slippery needles will give you fewer stitches per inch. If you're just starting to knit socks, try to play around with different needle materials and lengths until you find something you like. My favorites are 6 inch bamboo needles - they are slick enough to work quickly but grippy enough that they don't fall out. They are also flexible which is easier on my hands. The 6 inch length doesn't get caught in the cuff of a long sleeved shirt the way I've had 7 inch needles do. Needle choice is personal, keep playing with different options until you find what works for you.
  • Proportions - This is something I've figured out after knitting a bunch of socks. It just hit me one day that there is a tendency for most sock patterns to follow a set of proportions. There are 3 important sizing numbers (possibly 4, depending on the relationship between the size of your feet and the size of your leg/ankle area - we'll cover this in the adapting sock patterns part) in every sock. The first is the number of stitches around the leg of your sock. This is the primary number that the other numbers are based on. The second number is the number of stitches in the heel flap and the third number is how the toe shaping works. For the majority of top down sock patterns, the proportions work like this: Cast on A stitches (A is the number of stitches around the leg of your sock). Work until it's time to start the heel. Leave "1/2 of A" stitches on needles for the instep and work the remaining "1/2 of A" stitches for the heel flap. Work "1/2 of A" rows for the heel flap. To begin the heel turn, slip one and then purl "1/4 of A" stitches, P2tog, P1, turn. Work the heel turn, pick up stitches for the gusset and continue down the foot, working the instep stitches as established and decreasing in the gusset area until you have "A" stitches again. Continue working the foot until it's time to start the toe decreases. Decreasing 4 stitches on each decrease row, work a decrease row every other row until you have "1/2 of A" stitches left, then work a decrease row every row until you have "1/4 of A" stitches left. Kitchener stitch them together for the toe and you've got a sock. (A real pattern would have more detail of course, this is just to illustrate how all of the major parts of the sock are based on a single number or fractions of that number.)
I realize this sounds a bit complicated, but pull out a top down sock pattern and look at it. Download a free one from Ravelry if you don't own any sock patterns. Without possessing any psychic powers, I can tell you that the majority of sock patterns using 64 stitches around will have a 32 stitch wide heel flap worked for 32 rows. You'll work toe decreases every other row until you have 32 stitches, then every row until you have 16 stitches remaining. If you're looking at a 72 stitch sock, you'll probably have a 36 stitch heel flap worked over 36 rows and you'll work toe decreases every other row until you have 36 stitches left and then every row until you have either 20 or 16 stitches remaining. In this case, you are decreasing to a multiple of 4 so you have to juggle the numbers a bit.

Once you see how the parts of the sock relate to each other as proportions, it's much easier to resize them. It's also much easier to figure out where to make changes to fit the shape of the feet you're knitting socks for.

Here is a sample sock for you to create to your personal gauge and the proportions of a sock made to fit that gauge. This will fit an average shaped foot. If you do not have an average shaped foot, hang in there and the next part of this little sock adventure will have directions for compensating for non-average feet. Please note that I say average shaped foot, not average sized foot. This pattern can be adapted for anyone from children to large men. Babies have differently shaped feet and usually chubby ankles, so I don't recommend using this basic sock pattern for them.

  1. Make a gauge swatch and figure out how many stitches per inch you are getting. Use any yarn weight and needles of appropriate size. Write down your gauge here:_____Stitches per inch.
  2. Measure your foot (or the foot of the person who's getting these socks) around the ball of the foot (or the widest part). Foot measurement:______ Inches around.
  3. Multiply the number of stitches you are getting per inch by your foot measurement. Write that down here:_____.
  4. Now, there is an option at this point regarding ease. Some people like their socks to fit snugly - if that's you, multiply the number you just got by 90% or 0.90. If you don't want your socks to fit snugly, don't change anything. Write down your new number here or the same number from Step 3 depending on the choices you made:_____.
  5. The math will work out better if your primary number is divisible by 4. If necessary, add or subtract from your number from Step 4 until it's divisible by 4. (Math refresher: if a number is divisible by 4, you can divide 4 into it evenly - 12, 48, 64, 72, 80 are all divisible by 4.) Write down your new number that's divisible by 4 here:_____.
  6. The number in Step 5 is your primary number or "A." This is the number that all your other numbers will be related to. Anytime I refer to this number, I will call it "A" with the quotes and everything. If I say "1/2 of A", you'll need to divide "A" by 2. If I say "1/4 of A", you'll need to divide "A" by 4. Don't worry, it's pretty easy.
  7. Cast on "A" stitches and divide them evenly over 4 DPN's. (I know, after all that math you forgot we were even knitting socks, didn't you?)
  8. Join without twisting stitches and work K1, *P2, K2, rep from * to last stitch, end K1 for as many rounds as desired for a cuff.
  9. Switch to stockinette stitch (Knit every round) and work until the leg is the desired length before the heel flap. Or keep going in the rib - they're your socks, go crazy!
  10. Now we'll start the heel flap. The heel flap will be worked over "1/2 of A" stitches. The other stitches will be held for the instep. Turn your work and work a WS row as follows: Slip 1, P remaining heel flap stitches. Turn your work and *Slip 1, Knit 1, rep from * to end of heel flap stitches. You've now worked 2 rows of the heel flap. Continue working these two rows until you've worked "1/2 of A" rows total in the heel flap, ending with a RS row.
  11. Start the heel turn as follows. (WS row) Slip 1, P "1/4 of A" stitches (the total number of stitches on your right needle after this step will be "1/4 of A" plus 1), P2tog, P1, turn. Next row (RS) Slip 1, K3, SSK, K1, turn.
  12. Now that the heel turn is begun, you'll complete it as follows. WS rows: Turn, Sl 1, P to 1 stitch before the gap (there's a little gap between the stitches you've already worked in the heel turn and those waiting to be worked), end P2tog, P1. RS Rows: Turn, Sl 1, K to 1 stitch before the gap, end SSK, K1. Continue repeating these two rows until you've picked up and worked all the stitches from the heel flap.
  13. Divide the heel stitches over 2 needles. With the needle on the left (the one with the working yarn on it, pick up and knit stitches along the side of the heel flap, down to the joint between heel flap and instep stitches. It's more important to pick up enough stitches so you don't have holes here than it is to pick up a specific number of stitches. Work across the instep stitches either in stockinette or in the rib pattern, whatever you were doing right before you started the heel flap. Then pick up stitches along the other side of the heel flap. Try to get the same number of stitches you did the first time, but if you get one more or one less, you can just work an extra decrease on the side with the extra stitch later. Extra decreases aren't noticeable, holes are, so pick up what you need to not leave holes. Knit across the heel stitches and then back across the first gusset stitches. You will have completed this round when the working yarn is between the gusset stitches on the right and the first needle of instep stitches on the left. (New rounds begin with the instep stitches.)
  14. Work one round even. Keep instep stitches in pattern (probably either stockinette or rib) and keep heel and gusset stitches in stockinette.
  15. Decrease round - Work instep stitches in pattern. Heel/gusset stitches should be worked as K1, SSK, K to last 3 stitches of round, end K2tog, K1.
  16. Work the previous two rounds (decreasing every other round) until your total stitch count is "A" again. If you have an extra stitch on one side or the other, on the final decrease round, only decrease on that one side to get your stitch count back to "A."
  17. Work even until the foot of the sock reaches the point between your big toe and it's neighbor (where a flip flop would go).
  18. Begin Toe Decreases. (If you're working the top of the foot in rib, you'll switch to stockinette for the toe.) Decrease Round: K1, SSK, K to last 3 stitches of instep, K2tog, K1, (sole of sock) K1, SSK, knit to last 3 stitches of sole, K2tog, K1. You've just decreased 4 stitches in this round.
  19. Work one round even.
  20. Continue alternating the Decrease Round with an even round until you have "1/2 of A" stitches left.
  21. Work the Decrease Round only until you have "1/4 of A" stitches left (you might need to tweak this number a bit if "1/4 of A" isn't divisible by 4.) Get as close as you can to "1/4 of A" in this type of situation.
  22. Kitchener Stitch the toe closed.
I hope this helped you to see how a sock is actually constructed. There's no magic in the numbers, they're all just proportions based on the gauge. (Obviously you can't write down your personal gauge numbers in my blog post, but once I get this turned into a pdf and uploaded to Ravelry, you can print out the sock knitting directions and make notes to your heart's content.)

I won't be turning this into a pdf file and uploading to Ravelry until I finish this whole little series, so if you have any questions or comments, let me know and I can add to it. I do plan to attempt to do this in several pdf's so you can print only what you need. Obviously you might want the sock directions more than once, but the other information you might only print once or just read online depending on your own preferences.

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Thursday, April 21, 2011

Taygete

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I've gotten a little more done on Taygete and now it's easier to see that I'm past the halfway point of the stripes. I've really been focusing on Snowbird the last few days because I can see the light at the end of the tunnel on that one and would love to get it finished (so I can start another, possibly lighter weight, cardigan). This is just a quick, drive by blog post because I've got places to go this morning. Don't stare too long at the stripes - they might make you dizzy!

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Wednesday, April 20, 2011

Snowbird

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I'm still moving along slowly on Snowbird. It's taking me almost 10 minutes per row right now and I think part of that is just the weight of the sweater and moving it around on the needles. I know when I finish it I'll be glad that it was all done in one piece and I won't have to seam it, but right now, it has to be rearranged a bit, several times per row. You know what though? Do you see the weird places on the lower fronts? Those are my pockets! I've started pockets! The stitches for the pocket linings are on holders for now and I'm knitting on the actual pockets. I think I'll probably go back and add I-cord edgings to the tops of the pockets just to make them look like the other edges of the sweater, but I can decide that later. Did I mention that I'm knitting on the pockets? Did you know if you type pockets enough the word starts to look really odd?

I will definitely do a blog post (or possibly two) on socks and resizing them. I'll sit down and sort through my ideas. Also, since its hard to print from a blog, I will probably upload the blog posts to Ravelry as pdfs for free downloads. That way you can save and print or put it on your smartphone or wherever you feel like you need the information.

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Tuesday, April 19, 2011

New Socks

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Since I finished up Damson so quickly, I started a new pair of socks for Mickael. He seems to be enjoying the last pair I knit for him and I've even caught him shuffling through his sock drawer looking for other handknit wool socks, so he deserves more socks. The yarn is Dream in Color Smooshy in Grey Tabby. The needles are my new Blackthorn's (these needles are the pointiest needles I've ever worked with). The pattern is New Fallen Snow (from the Visions of Sugarplums collection) which I've adjusted to fit Mickael's foot.

Caleb actually picked out the pattern from Ravelry. I was doing a search of sock patterns that didn't have lace (I can't remember all the other filters I used, just not lace) and Caleb was helping me find one that would suit Mickael. I had already decided I didn't want to knit a plain, grey sock, but any pattern or texture had to be subtle. As we were going through the socks, Caleb saw my New Fallen Snow sock and immediately said that was the one - he didn't even know it was my design! I'm calling these Tabby in the Snow socks while I'm working on them, but I'm sure Mickael would rather they be called Warlord of Doom socks. Or something.

It just occurred to me that I may or may not have ever explained how to adjust a sock pattern for a different size foot. Have I ever done that here? Would you be interested in that as a blog post? Let me know in the comments and if enough people are interested, I'll work it up.

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Monday, April 18, 2011

Damson

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All blocked and finished, and apparently someone is ready to start modeling knitwear.

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After it's tasted of course.
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Such a good puppy (he's 10 months old today).
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Now this is just getting boring.

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Friday, April 15, 2011

Damson

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It's bound off and finished! I did run short on yarn, but thankfully I had found some yarn in my stash (Socks that Rock in Lover's Leap) that worked with the original yarn and I used that for the edging. I've still got to block it out obviously, but the knitting is done. I honestly don't think I've gotten a good picture of the color yet, but maybe if I take it outside once it's blocked I'll do better with the color. (I tried to correct the color in my photo editing software, but there's still a warm/coral tone to the reds that isn't there in real life.) Cameras have problems with the red to red violet range anyway, and I go through this every time I knit with red, but I love red and as a brunette, red is a great color for me.

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This was a great pattern, easy to work and portable, just know that when it calls for 440 yards of yarn, 420 won't do it (my problem, not the designer's). I've got Ishbel also by Ysolda Teague in my Knit Something of the Month Club for later this year and I'll be double checking yardage before I cast on.

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Thursday, April 14, 2011

Logan's New Friend

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Now that things are warming up around here, some of the local wildlife is coming out to play again. In the evenings, if it's warm enough, on Logan's last potty trip before bedtime there will be one of these lovelies* on our patio. There are at least three of them because this one is the smallest. The biggest one is about twice the size of this one and then there's one in between the two sizes (Papa Frog, Mama Frog, and Baby Frog maybe). Finn never really noticed them but Logan found the big one about a week ago.

In proper doggy greeting style, Logan walked up to the frog and began sniffing it's butt. Then, he went into a lie down behind the frog so he could better sniff and snarfle his new friend. The frog remained motionless the entire time. I had a very tight grip on Logan's leash and collar so I could quickly get him away from the frog in case he decided to put the frog in his mouth (he's a retriever after all). After a thorough investigation of the frog's tookus, Logan came back in the house. Ever since that first meeting, Logan has learned the scent of frog and he can find them with his nose faster than I can see them (as you can see in the picture, they blend pretty well with the aggregate patio and our outside light is not very bright). All of the frogs have now been snarfled and sniffed by Logan and all of the frogs have used the same defensive technique of sitting VERY still and hoping Logan would go away. (If you listen very carefully, you can hear them repeating, "please don't eat me, please don't eat me" over and over - in frog.) So far, the technique has worked and no one has been put in Logan's mouth.

I actually got this picture this morning as this little guy wasn't tucked back into bed after eating bugs all night (go frog). This poor thing got snarfled by Logan and then had me in it's face with a camera, using the flash. Apparently the same defensive frog technique used for dogs also works for crazy flash wielding bloggers - it sat perfectly still while I took several pictures for the blog. Mickael figures that once I went back into the house, it promptly hopped into a wall since it won't be able to see where it's going for a while.

*I don't know if this is a frog or a toad, but I like the word frog better (frogs have better marketing departments than toads do), so I'm going with frog here. If it is in fact a toad, you can just keep that to yourselves and mock me in private. If it's on my patio, it's a frog.

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Wednesday, April 13, 2011

Snowbird

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I've gotten back on Snowbird again and yesterday I sat down and stitched up the underarms and wove in some ends. Right now, the only finishing I'll have to do (when I finish the knitting of course) is to Kitchener Stitch the I-cord bind off on the sleeves and weave in whatever new ends I get as I knit through balls of yarn. I'm almost to the pockets (my first knitted pockets EVER) and there can't be much more to go after that. It's getting pretty big to work on, but last night was the beginning of the new season of Deadliest Catch, which is not only a really great show to knit with, but somehow watching those cold waves crash over the boats makes it easy to have a pile of wool in your lap when it's hot outside.

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Tuesday, April 12, 2011

Damson

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I'm moving right along on Damson. I know it doesn't look like much right now (I'm switching to a longer needle later today), but I'm almost finished with the garter stitch section and I'm past the halfway point of it (at least by rows).

I realized that I have about 20 yards less than the pattern calls for. I'm hoping that I'll still be OK because most designers give you a little wiggle room on yardage. If it looks like I'm running out, I can probably find something in a solid that will work with my yarn (from the Babette leftovers - forgot about that one didn't you? Me too.) I'll do the edging in the solid if I need to. If you look at the finished Damson, you can see the little loop edge - that's what will be in the solid if I run out of yarn.

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Monday, April 11, 2011

Taygete - Around the Corner

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I've passed the halfway point of the garter stitch for Taygete and now I'm decreasing back to the other point. (You can see the center point of it at the top right of the picture - there's a stitch marker in the point.) Taygete got put on hold while I worked on Angelfish, but now it should get some more of my knitting time again. Using two colors, it's not quite a portable project (I'm too OC to let the yarns get twisted around each other), but it still makes for nice, mindless knitting in front of the TV at the end of the day. That might change when I get to the lace section though.

As I'm working on this, I've got all kinds of ideas for other colors to use on this. I love looking at all the other Taygete's on Ravelry - so many different color combinations. I might have to do another one of these just to play with other colors!

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Thursday, April 07, 2011

Angelfish

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The freshwater Angelfish is one of the most beautiful aquarium fishes. Their long, dramatic fins make them look graceful and elegant. The Angelfish shawl echoes the shape of the fish's fins in an easy to wear elongated triangle. Knit sideways, this small shawl allows you to use the maximum amount of your yarn and is easy to wear as the point of the triangle is more shallow than a traditional top down shawl. An interesting, allover mesh forms the body of the shawl, while it is edged in a variation of the traditional wave pattern. It's perfect for Summer or anytime you are looking for a light accessory without adding too much warmth. Using a silk or silk blend yarn will give your shawl a shimmer similar to the elegant Angelfish itself.

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Shown in Handmaiden Sea Silk in the Periwinkle colorway, one 100 gram skein (400 m) of this fingering weight yarn was used. Since this shawl is knit from side to side, it is adaptable to the actual amount of yarn you have. It could also be worked in other yarn weights. Knit on US 7's (4.5 mm), it was aggressively blocked to a finished measurement of 72 inches across the top edge and 23 inches from the center back down to the point.

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Stitch patterns are given in both charted and written out format so the knitter can use whichever method they prefer.

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It occurred to me that due to the size of this shawl, it would actually make a very cute swim coverup if it was tied sarong style around the hips.

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Damson - With Help

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Apparently I have a new photographic assistant. See how he carefully holds Damson down for it's blog photo? I'm actually still in shock that I even got this picture, I have several pictures with his head in the way of Damson, but for this one, he pulled his head out of the frame and just held the shawl in his paws. The price of this assistance was that Damson got kissed. All of it. And a little of the yarn attached to it. Much kissy kisses. It will dry, it will be washed before blocking, and everything will be OK.

After seeing the cuteness of the paws, you probably don't care how the shawl is going, but it's moving along pretty well. I'm more than halfway through the top section of the garter stitch (and almost halfway through the entire shawl if you count by rows, and really, with the rate of increases made on this thing, counting by rows is the only way to go). I got back on this after finishing the test knit for my new pattern yesterday (it's blocking now).

Speaking of the new pattern, I'm editing the written out pattern, proof reading the directions, and cleaning the whole thing up today. Once it's done blocking I'll get photos and add those and tomorrow you can see my new pattern that Logan hinted at Monday. It's going to be perfect for Summer!

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Tuesday, April 05, 2011

Knit Something of the Month Club

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It's April, so it's time for a new Knit Something of the Month Club project. This month is a shawlette and the pattern I'm knitting is Damson by Ysolda Teague. The yarn is Cherry Tree Hill Supersock and the color is marked as Brights. I have no idea where I got this yarn, it's been in my stash for ages and normally I wouldn't choose such a busy yarn for a shawlette, but this one has a pretty simple design and I don't think I'll lose any of it in my crazy yarn.

I've been enjoying wearing the Pettine and Belladonna Took shawlettes more than I expected and I'm glad I will be doing more of these small shawls throughout the year. They really are easy to wear and I've worn them with everything from dresses to jeans and a t-shirt. If you haven't made one of these little shawlettes, you really should. Now if you'll excuse me, the strangest dog in the world seems to think that there's a secret passage to Bacon behind his crate.

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Monday, April 04, 2011

Mommy Can't Come to the Blog Today

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She told me I could let you know that she designed a new pattern last Friday and has been knitting on it to test it out. She didn't knit anything that she can show you yet, but she said she'll have bloggable knitting for tomorrow (I'm not sure if that's really a word, I think she makes stuff up sometimes). She did say that I could tell you that the new design is another sideways knit shawl in fingering weight yarn, kind of like the Belladonna Took, but using a more complex allover lace pattern. I should also tell you that the yarn she's using is really interesting and I keep getting in trouble for snarfling it. Also it's really windy here and I have to keep my ears tucked in or Mommy will be flying me like a kite on my leash. That last part had nothing to do with Mommy's new design, but I thought I'd share anyway. I hope you had a nice weekend and got to play with lots of chew toys! I spent part of Saturday practicing my music under Mommy and Daddy's bed - I'm working on Waltz of the Squeaky Chicken.

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Friday, April 01, 2011

Taygete

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Isn't this just about the most exciting picture you've ever seen? Try to control yourselves as you look at the stripy triangle! After finishing my March socks I got back to work on Taygete and yes, I'm still striping and yes, I'm still increasing. I'm going to work on it this weekend and see if I can't get past the increasing and start decreasing before I show it to you again. In the meantime, this is what it looks like this morning.

I hope you have a great weekend!

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