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Friday, March 31, 2006

Of Gussets and Bunnies

Do you see this? On the left is the SSK side of a gusset with the SSK's done the usual way. See the little stair steps? It looks OK, but its no match for the other side of the gusset with the smooth line of K2tog's. On the right is the gusset for my Sockapaloooza sock with the SSK's done the way Dave recommended in the comments a week or so ago. Do you see what a perfectly smooth line it is? It matches the K2tog side of the gusset! No stair steps! Dave, you're a genius! Now both sides of our gussets will look the same. And just in case you didn't catch Dave's directions, here they are: Slip one knitwise, slip one purlwise, slip both stitches back to the left needle and knit through the back. THEN - on the next round (the "work even" round) you knit this stitch through the back so its twisted. I will admit that the gusset took me longer doing it like this, but I figure that's just because I had to slow down and think about it more. Once I really learn it, it should speed up a bit. At least as fast as a gusset ever goes.

It wasn't all gussets around here yesterday, Caleb and I went stash diving (we didn't really get into the whole stash, just into one of my fat quarter buckets) and found some fabric for the bunnies. Caleb picked out his bunny, then he decided how the baby's bunny should be done (a variation on his bunny), and I found some fabric for my own bunny. Caleb then drew a face for his bunny and a face for the baby's bunny, which I centered on the bunnies' heads and embroidered. We've got everything cut out and ready to sew now as you can see from the picture below. I am doing the ears differently from the pattern because I didn't want raw edges there. I traced the ears off and left space between them, they are layered with the other ear fabric (outer ear and inner ear) and I'll sew on the lines, then cut them out with pinking shears and flip them right side out. At least that's the plan. Today there will be some bunny sewing and hopefully we'll have bunnies by bedtime. And just so you know, all of these bunnies are nice. We haven't gotten crazy with the bunnies - yet.

Thursday, March 30, 2006

Happy Birthday to me!

Yes, 33 years ago today, I was born! We've mostly done all of our celebrating here around the house - because of Mickael's work schedule we had birthday cake earlier in the week. I understand I narrowly missed out on having a Superman cake - I got a cake with two yellow duckies on it instead. Strangely enough the ducks have disappeared and they didn't end up in my bathtub! You've already seen the wool combs Mickael got for me, but above you can see what Caleb got for me - sheep! The big sheep's name is Mary and the baby is Yarn (Yarn was named by Caleb). In a duck related incident, Caleb declared that since there was a mommy sheep and a baby sheep, he would take the baby sheep - since he's the baby and all. I've got to remember to always ask for something Caleb doesn't want for himself if I plan to keep any part of my birthday!

In knitting news, as you can see I've made it past the heel flap and the heel turn on my Sockapaloooza sock and I'm ready to start the gusset. I decided since these were such Springy socks that I would make the cuffs shorter than I usually do for colder weather socks. I'm loving how this sock is looking and I hope my sock pal likes them!

I've also joined a new knitalong, but its not a knitalong. Make sense? Its a sew along for knitters! Its Sew? I knit. I found it too late to get in on the beginning - they've already made a skirt - but I got in for the next project: a bag! If you're interested in signing up, details are in the sidebar of the knit/sewalong -link above (I'll stick a button in my sidebar soon) Signups close tomorrow and sewing begins April 1, but you have until April 30 to get your bag done. Aurora is going to do it also, and it would be fun to "know" some more people in it too!

Finally, in my uncaffeinated blog wanderings (in other words, I was clicking on stuff and have no idea how I got there) I stumbled across the cutest little bunny pattern at Wee Wonderfuls. This is such a bunny time of year (unless you live in Australia and then I guess its kind of a pumpkin kind of year) and I think this is the sweetest little bunny! I will probably be making one of these for my Sister In Law's Sister's Baby (I've got to come up with a better way to refer to that kid!) who is due this summer. Then my warped little brain thought, "hey, I could make a cute Wee Bunny, OR I could make Deranged Bunny, Psychopath Bunny, or even Pirate Bunny!" Its all in how you make the face and accessorize the bunny. Go make a bunny!

Wednesday, March 29, 2006

Combing, Day 1

I'm back and I have no new injuries! I think that in itself is something to celebrate. Yesterday I started using my new combs and I think I'm doing pretty well. I've never actually seen anyone combing fibers before, so I got out two of my books that cover the subject: Alden Amos' Big Book of Spinning and Deb Menz' Color in Spinning. I do hope to actually see combing demonstrated at Maryland Sheep and Wool because I'll probably learn all kinds of things that I'm doing wrong, but for now, the books and email tips from Janet of The Wheel Thing (where I bought the combs - she's been EXTREMELY helpful, very quick on emailing hints and suggestions) and the Spindler's group (helpful in all things fibery, not just spindles), are helping me along. So, I promised pictures of what I did and here they are, except where I kind of got carried away with the combing and forgot to take pictures, but I got the beginning and the end and some of the middle part.

Step One: Make sure I'm properly caffeinated. This is important. I walk into walls without caffeine. And I don't notice that I've walked into them. Safety first!

Step Two: Make sure I have something to comb. All I had around here that was ready to comb immediatly was some dyed Mohair locks. I got them off eBay in November of 2004. I had no idea what I should do with them. They were pretty and they were spinnable. Ebay should come with a warning to new spinners - if you don't know what it is, and you don't have anything to process it into a spinnable form, don't buy it just because its pretty. I know that you can spin the locks into a yarn, letting their little curly ends stick out and have novelty yarn, but I've never tried that either. OK, so I sorted out the locks into general colors (clockwise from top left: pinkys, purples, greens, yellows) as you can see below. Step Three: Clamp comb holder/pad to counter. FYI: I got the Walnut combs and they are a black walnut, they just look lighter in the photos here. Step Four: Get the combs out of the holder part of the thing and stick one in the pad, anchoring it with the pretty walnut handled spike thing. Note the Steel Needles of Death are now out and ready to poke unsuspecting people. Double check caffeine levels at this time. Step Five: Lash some locks onto the combs. This is a fancy way of saying to stick some fiber on the combs. Don't poke your fingers while you do this. I think I was putting the fiber too far back on the combs too. I'll try to keep it just barely behind the combs today. Then you turn the comb sideways in the pad and comb it with the other comb. You kind of start it at the tips of the fiber and work your way towards the stationary comb. Here is a picture of a partially combed puff of fiber (I'm sure there's some wonderful term for this, but I don't know it - we'll call it a Puff in Progress or PIP today)I've turned the comb back upright so you can see the PIP better. Supposedly, the combed fiber will transfer to the mobile comb, leaving behind only short cuts, noils, and other things you don't want in top. I ended up with about half of the fiber on each comb and only found short cuts, noils and other things as I was dizzing the fiber off the combs. I think this is related to the amount of fiber behind the combs. So basically, I keep combing, back and forth until the PIP looks really well combed (or in my case, like a pink afro on the comb since there were some static issues yesterday) - yeah, this is where there are no pictures. Then you draw the fibers off the combs through a diz. If you look at the second picture, you'll see 3 dizzes on the left side of the picture - a cat with holes in him, and two shells with holes. The holes are the important part. You kind of gather up the PIP and pull a little through one of the dizzes and essentially draft the fiber off the combs, pulling on the fiber, pushing the diz back towards the comb. What you are pulling off is called top (which refers to the top quality of fiber that results from combing). My top is pretty wispy which I think is related to my lack of experience with the whole combing/diz thing, but as you can see from the picture below - its spinnable! This is what I got from the pinky pile of locks and the yellow pile of locks. I'm going to give the purple locks a go today (and maybe the green depending on time) and see if I've gotten any better at this. I've also got to track down some washing bags since I've got alpaca, llama, and some undyed, yearling mohair locks that I could also spin, but all of these are raw and need washing. Stay caffeinated!

Tuesday, March 28, 2006


I've started my Sockapaloooza Socks! As you can see, I have changed my plan a bit from the original idea of Fair Isle cuffs with a cabled sock. Why? Well, there are a couple of reasons. Number One is because I would have had to knit a test sock to figure out the gauge differences before I knit the sock for my Sockapaloooza Pal, and I didn't think I had it in me to knit two pairs of such a complex sock design by the deadline - May 1. Number Two is because of the weather: Fair Isle and Cables seem more Fall and Winter to me. I'm personally tired of cold weather and ready for some warmer Spring temps and knitting heavier socks just seems kind of counterproductive. (Not that my knitting is what changes the seasons, but you know what I mean.) So, I got out the graph paper, and using Vine Lace as the center pattern, designed some other lace patterns that look vaguely floral and voila! Sock design! I'm knitting it in the Knit Picks Color Your Own Fingering Weight, dyed with Easter Egg dye tablets (can you get more Springy?) I'm really happy with the way these are looking and I hope that my Sock Pal loves them!

By the way, I got my new combs yesterday, so I'll be learning to comb later today! Tomorrow will either have pictures of what I've combed, or pictures of my Band Aids!

Monday, March 27, 2006

Not A Sock is Finished and is getting a friend!

I finished my Celtic Cap this weekend! I used just under 2 skeins of Elann's Sierra Aran (Wool/Alpaca blend) yarn in Atlantic Mist. (They seem to be out of this color right now). With the remaining second skein and 5 more skeins, I'm knitting the scarf you see here. My original idea was to knit the Irish Hiking Scarf, which is a really pretty cabled scarf. As I was knitting the hat though, I decided I wanted a bit more than just cables. I wanted something more Celtic looking. After looking at the pattern for the Irish Hiking Scarf, I knew I would have had to change it anyway - its a 6 stitch wide cable and the knotwork on the cap is the same size as a 4 stitch wide cable. So, since I wanted the cap and scarf to be a set, I decided on this. The side cables are 4 stitch wide cables, twisted every 6 rows, flanked by two stitch wide knitted ribs (this is the same size of ribs on the cap). The middle part of the scarf is the knotwork pattern from Cafe Bastille Cables (Interweave Knits Fall 2003). This exact knotwork pattern is also in Nicky Epstein's Knitting On the Edge book, called Saxon Braid there. There is a fringe added to one side of the cable in the book, but this can easily be eliminated. I'm really loving how the hat and scarf are looking together and I know that I'll be snuggly warm next Fall and Winter.

In other news, remember how I had emailed the Smithsonian ages ago about the position of the spinning wheel to the chair it was next to? Well, this morning I got a reply!

Your e-mail regarding the angle at which our flax wheel sits in the textile exhibit was referred to me for reply. We know how such a wheel should sit to be used by a spinner. Since there is no spinning demonstrator at this time, the wheel is not always placed in the correct position for spinning after cleaning. Unfortunately, it is more important to sit it at an angle where the public can not play with it and damage it.

We are glad you enjoyed your trip to the museum, and we thank you for your interest in the Textile Hall.

I was shocked to hear anything from them after all this time, but I was also glad that the Smithsonian knew how it was supposed to go. I imagine that many little girls who are fans of Sleeping Beauty would love to get their little hands all over the spinning wheel.

Friday, March 24, 2006

Stash enhancement

I'm back! Actually I felt better yesterday, but didn't have anything new to show you, so I just didn't blog. This morning I'll show you my new sock yarn! From Left to Right: Lorna's Laces in Bittersweet, Trekking XXL in color 134, Shelridge Farms Soft Touch Heathers in Opal, and Cherry Tree Hill in Serengeti. I'm going to have a really fun sock drawer! In other news I've already been to the doctor's this morning. I can't remember the last time I had a tetanus shot, so I figured I should get one before I get the wool combs. Mickael is calling them Steel Needles of Death. I kinda like that. I've also been spinning more of the Spinner's Hill wool (the blue and green that I'm plying together) and I'm hoping to have that finished by Maryland this year. I hope you all have a great weekend, I'll be back Monday!

Update: I got all of the yarn from The Knitter. She has a huge inventory of sock yarns (and other types) and gives free shipping!

Wednesday, March 22, 2006

Not A Sock is getting bigger

Its starting to look more hat-like! I've closed the first cable thingy (that's a technical term) and now it looks like 7 upside down pretzels on the hat. I've tried it on and it fits nicely. Not too tight, but it doesn't feel like it will blow off in the wind either so I think I'm fine on sizing. I do bear a strange resemblance to the Statue of Liberty with all the DPN's sticking out from my head. No picture of that because I'm still walking around in my PJ's this morning. I am enjoying knitting this. I love knitting cables! They're one of those things in knitting that look really amazing but they're really easy to do. I might change the center cable from the Irish Hiking Scarf and do a more Celtic knotwork looking cable there, just to tie the hat and scarf together more, but I'll decide as I get closer to knitting it. Not much else is going on here. Last night I felt like I was coming down with something, but this morning I feel fine, just really slow. I'm going to take it easy today since my body may be fighting off a little virus or something and hopefully it will go away quickly.

Tuesday, March 21, 2006

Yesterday was a good mail day

When I went outside to get the mail yesterday, I had no idea what fun was waiting for me! The Maryland Sheep and Wool Festival Catalog and Vogue Knitting for Spring! This is the first Vogue Knitting in a while that has anything in it that I would knit. I actually like the skirt on the front cover, but I would be more likely to sew something similar than knit it. I've never been a fan of knitted skirts, but this one looks pretty wearable. The fact that it could essentially be made in fabric in under 2 hours means I won't be knitting it, but its nice to see one that's worth wearing. This is the first year I've gotten the MDS$W catalog before the festival so this was a very exciting moment for me. I'll probably wear it out before May, but they'll have more of them at the show. For those that have never seen one, its filled with ads (sheepy, wooley, fibery ads!), class listings, a map of the fairgrounds (got to plan out the shopping), and pictures of sheep. I just love sheep! I want to hug their wooley necks when I see them, but most of them don't really want to be hugged, so I look at pictures of sheep. This book has lots of pictures of sheep! I also love the logo for this year's festival - the sheepy yarn balls are so cute.

Do you want to know what else happened yesterday? Mickael is getting me some Alvin Ramer Super Mini Wool Combs for my birthday! We ordered them yesterday from The Wheel Thing and I was expecting to have to wait a month or so like the website says, but I got an email from Janet this morning saying she's expecting several sets of combs in by sometime next week! I might actually get them by my birthday next week! WooHOo! I have been debating getting some hand cards or combs for a while now and I finally settled on combs. They cost more, but I prefer to spin combed top and I can always send fiber out to be processed into carded rovings. So I Googled wool combs, I checked the Spindler's archives, and I slept on it for a while to see if the feeling would go away. It didn't, so now I'm getting combs! I'm planning on getting a fleece at Maryland and now I'll be able to comb it!

One last note, yes there will be a Mystery Stole 2006. I have to get it knitted up to make sure all the bugs are worked out but I will be doing another one. I'm thinking I'll probably do it in the Summer again like last year, since I'm working on something else right now, then I'll really get going with the Mystery Stole. For those who missed out on the first Mystery Stole Along, the group is closed but the pattern is available - its Leda's Dream and if you check the sidebar, you'll find a link to the page with more details and purchase information. I'll announce more about Mystery Stole 2006 as I get the details figured out. I'll post information on my blog and in my Yahoo group - Pink Lemon Knits.

Monday, March 20, 2006

Its...Not A Sock!

WAIT! You're at Pink Lemon Twist, don't worry! I'm actually knitting on Not A Sock! I understand these are called "Hats" and people wear them on their heads. Crazy, huh? This is the Celtic Cap and I got started on it over the weekend. The pattern is written for a rolled edge or a hemmed edge for the bottom of the hat, but I really wasn't wanting either of them, so I did a 2x2 rib. See how I continued the rib right into the pattern between the cable panels? If you look closely, you can see the bottoms of the knotwork pattern just beginning. Yes, I am knitting this on Double Points. See, the smallest circular needle I had in the correct size was 26 inches and my head is 22 inches around so that would have been to big. I could have picked one up, but I really dislike knitting with circular needles anyway, so I grabbed some DPN's. I decided to knit it on 7 needles with one working needle (there are 7 repeats of the knotwork pattern) but since I didn't have two sets of the same size of needles, I'm using two different sizes of needles. Don't panic - there is only .25mm difference in sizes and I've alternated the sizes all the way around the hat and I have it on good authority that it will work because your hands can feel the difference and will compensate and it will all be OK. Who said that? Elizabeth Zimmerman. Who am I to question her wisdom? So far its working...

Friday, March 17, 2006

More Harvest Socks

I finished my own pair of Harvest Socks. I really like the way the colors look on these socks. I probably won't wear them until Fall, but they'll be ready. General details: Handspun roving from Linden Lane Farm (link on yesterday's entry) in the Harvest colorway. Knit on size 2 US (2.75mm) needles. I used 48 stitches around (which is the same number I used for Caleb's socks on size 1 US needles) and an Eye of Partridge Heel.

Just in case you're curious, here is one of my socks with one of his:His are closer in size to mine than I would have expected! I did regular Heel Stitch on his heels and my sock looks darker in the picture because its still damp from being blocked. Vanessa of the Comments asked about spinning a two ply sock yarn, and while I'm no expert, I'll tell you what I know. This is a two ply yarn and while it doesn't look like it, its not as regular in width as I would like. I think the fluffier parts just squished into the knit stitches because overall, it knits up pretty evenly. One thing that helps me keep things consistent is the Spinner's Control Card.
I can use this as I'm spinning to keep track of the size of my singles. Mine hangs on my spinning wheel so I can check frequently. I find that if I check several times when I start a spinning session, soon I settle into a rhythm and will only need to check periodically as I continue. I didn't really use the card for spinning this yarn, but I will definitely be using it to spin the other sock yarns. If I spin my sock yarn singles consistently, I could go back and ply different colors together and make completely new yarns. The Twisted Sister's Sock Workbook has lots of information about this kind of thing. Also, I wasn't really aiming for a fingering weight sock yarn when I spun this. I got a sport weight and I was happy with that weight. I figure there are plenty of fingering weight sock yarns out there, so I'd rather spin for something different. Everyone needs socks a little thicker (and sport weight isn't so thick it will cause a problem with your shoes) for lazy days or really cold days, so that's what I was spinning for.

By the way, Dave of the Comments from the Other Day has a suggestion for a SSK that looks neater than the standard SSK, (thanks!) so I will be trying that out on my next sock's gusset. You didn't think I was done with socks did you?

Happy St. Patrick's Day everyone!

Thursday, March 16, 2006

This is where socks come from

Yesterday I got a lot of little things done, and nothing really noticeable of knitting done, so I'll distract you with some stash enhancement. This is 8 ounces each (enough for approximately 2 pairs of socks each) of rovings from Linden Lane Farm. They are both Romney/ Mohair (70/30 respectively) which is a great mix for socks. Romney is a medium wool and generally is fairly soft but also strong (there is a range within the breed for fleece that's next to the skin soft with a fine crimp all the way to a really open crimp that's pretty coarse - it varies from sheep to sheep). Mohair adds strength. You may have noticed that most commercial sock yarns blend in a little nylon for strength, well mohair does the same thing, but it doesn't make the finished item washable like the nylon can. This isn't a problem for me since I have gone to handwashing all my hand knit socks because they will wear longer that way. Anyway, back to the rovings, on the left is "Manhatten" and on the right is "San Clemente." Linden Lane is where I got the Harvest roving that I spun for the socks from yesterday's post (and Caleb's socks, done a couple of weeks ago), and I just love the way her rovings spin up. They are very well prepared with minimal VM and the colors come together really nicely.

So, what did I do yesterday? Well, on the Harvest Socks, I'm past the Heel and the Gusset. I have 24 more rounds until I start toe shaping and I plan to finish this pair today. I frogged the Lace Cardi I discussed yesterday. I appreciate all the encouragement everyone gave in the comments, I just know that I wouldn't have worn the cardi. Also, as I was knitting it, I kept making mistakes and having to tink. I could just have seen getting finished with it and finding mistakes I didn't catch, so I think frogging it and going for the hat and scarf set is probably the best choice for me. I also made 5 dozen cookies for Caleb's St. Patrick's Day party at school today. I ate way too much cookie dough while I was doing it too!

Wednesday, March 15, 2006

Knitting, and Knitting, and Knitting...

Naturally, as soon as I finished the St. Patrick's Day Socks, I started another pair. These are my socks from the Harvest yarn. On Caleb's socks I used size 1 needles and did a standard heel stitch heel flap. For mine, I'm using size 2 needles and I'm doing an Eye of Partridge heel flap. Not that you can really tell, the colors and fluff of this yarn kind of eats patterns. I actually started knitting a texture pattern on the first sock, but then I realized that I couldn't see it so I frogged back to the ribbing and restarted in plain stockinette. I'll have to get a picture of Caleb's socks with mine when I finish them.

Care Bear made a comment yesterday about how one side of her gusset always looks better than the other side. I have noticed that the K2tog decreases make a smoother line than the SSK decreases on the other side. Over time, as the socks get washed and worn and the stitches kind of get settled into each other, this seems to even out and there is a less noticeable difference. At least it seems that way to me. Anyone else noticed this?

On a completely non sock note, remember back in January, I started this cropped cardigan? Well, after the Knitting Olympics, I got it back out again, intending to work on it more. It sat there, and I ignored it. I kept knitting more socks and ignoring the cardi. Well, it finally dawned on me why I was ignoring it. At some point, possibly during the Knitting Olympics or just after, it occurred to me that that cardi might make me look like I was wearing an afghan as a jacket. I think it has something to do with the aran weight yarn (possibly too chunky for a lace garment in my opinion). I like the general shape of the cardi, and I've seen a couple of people who've knitted it and it looks cute, but for some reason, I can't get the afghan image out of my head. I know myself well enough that even if I finish it, I probably won't wear it because my head's all messed up about it now. So, I will frog it today and I will use the yarn for something else. I'm thinking about doing this hat and possibly the Irish Hiking Scarf to go with it, or some other cabled scarf. I have 7 skeins of yarn (600+ yards) so I figure I'll start with the hat and knit the scarf with whatever I left. I realized this Winter that I had lots of scarves and a couple of hats, but none of them really went together and as cold as our Winters are here, I should have at least one matched set, don't you think?

Tuesday, March 14, 2006

St. Patrick's Day Socks or Are They???

I finished my St. Patrick's Day socks so I'm all ready for Friday! After I blocked them I noticed something - do you see the faces in the eyelet pattern? They look like little alien faces. I made Little Green Men socks! Technically the Cloverleaf Eyelet pattern is supposed to have one hole at the top and two at the bottom, but since I worked the socks top down, the design got flipped!

All the details: 64 stitches around, Cloverleaf Eyelet Rib pattern from Barbara G. Walker's first book (add 2 more purl stitches to make it an 8 stitch repeat). Knit on size 1's US (2.25mm) with Knit Picks Color Your Own Fingering Weight, dyed with green Easter Egg dye tablets. I'm not going to write up this pattern since the book is widely available (check your library if you don't have it) and there are bunches of 64 stitch sock patterns out there.

Tonya had asked in the comments why I didn't do toe up socks. I used to do toe up socks. If you go into my archives and read you'll realize that I didn't start top down socks until the end of last year. My usual sock used to be a toe up, short rowed heel type. I've pretty much switched because I have a strange foot. My foot is on the narrow side, but I have a high instep. Socks fit better if they have a gusset. I know I complain about gussets (Vortex of Socky Time and Energy that they are), but I do get a better fitting sock with them. I know you can knit a toe up sock with a heel flap and gusset, Sensational Knitted Socks has them, but I don't like the way those look. I've made peace with the Kitchener Stitch (SKS also has the best directions + pictures of Kitchener I've ever seen and I'm actually able to do the stitch now), so top down doesn't really intimidate me any more. As to why gussets take so much time? I think its because the needles with the heel and gusset stitches on them are at a right angle to the instep stitches. This makes the needles a little harder to juggle and makes sock knitting feel like wrestling an octopus, until you get some of those stitches decreased out and the angle starts to even out. I don't think it has much to do with the extra stitches because let's face it, the extra stitches are usually knit stitches and those go fast anyway. Anyway, that's what I think, for today at least.

Monday, March 13, 2006

Check this out...

OOOPS! First I'd like to point out that there was an error in the Hot Rod Socks pattern, originally posted on the blog: The end of the Heel Flap directions should say that you should finish with a RS row, ready to do a WS row. I've corrected it on the blog and the pdf version at the Pink Lemon Knits site is correct, but I wanted to make sure I tell everyone too!

Now that we've gotten that out of the way, check this out:I got this sock yarn (yeah, more socks, surprise, surprise!) over the weekend from Sunshine Yarns (she's supposed to have more yarns tomorrow). Dani called it Strawberry Banana, but obviously its Pink Lemon Sock yarn! With colors like this, I couldn't NOT buy it and look - she gives you matching stitch markers with your yarn. How cute is that? I obviously NEEDED blog socks. I'm not sure what pattern I'll use, the color sections look pretty short so I don't think I'm going to get stripes with this yarn, but I'll have to see when I knit it. For now I'll just pet the yarn and giggle.

Friday, March 10, 2006

Pink Lemon Knits

Have you ever wondered how you could keep up with the Pink Lemon Knits Patterns without having to go check my blog? Ever wondered about Mystery Stole 2006? Ever wondered where you can get a pdf format file of the Hot Rod Socks? Ever wondered why sheep don't felt together when it rains? Well wonder no longer! (Except for the sheep thing - I've been wondering that one for years.) Pink Lemon Knits is a new Yahoo group set up just to answer these questions and more! Now wait, I know what you're thinking. You've got too many emails to read from the groups you're already in. One more group and you won't have time to knit! I know how you feel - my inbox looks the same way! That's why I set up Pink Lemon Knits as an announcement only type of group. Its not a discussion group. I'm the only one who can post messages (stomping down an urge to let out an evil Bwah haha of Power) and I promise to only post when I am reasonably caffeinated - which is more than I can say for my blog posting. So come by and sign up and you can all rest easily knowing that you are in the loop for Pink Lemon Knits news - I know you were laying awake at night wondering, weren't you? Just click here, sign up and relax. Or even better, find out why sheep don't felt together in the rain.

The Hot Rod Socks pattern has been posted to the Files Section of the group. I will be adding more FAQ's to the database this weekend, but you can still go ahead and sign up!

Thursday, March 09, 2006

Breaking All the Rules

I made some good progress on my St. Patrick's Day Socks yesterday. I'm past the heel flap, heel turn, and the Great Time Sucking Vortex of Socks - I mean the gusset, and now its just a straight shot to the toe. I can't wait to see what these look like blocked - right now the lace and ribs are pulling into themselves so much the sock doesn't look like much. Something new I've learned: You can use 33 stitches for a heel flap, still only work 32 rows and get a recognizable heel without The Sock Knitting Committee (Board of Don't Mess With the Traditional Techniques) breaking down the door. Of course, they could be busy with the two-socks-at-once-on-two-circular-needles people too. The design repeat wouldn't break down into 32 stitches with both sides even, so I would have had to make the second sock a mirror image. Knowing myself and knowing I'd never be able to remember that - even with copious notes on the subject - I chose to make the heel 33 stitches and the top of the foot (instep?) 31 stitches. Now the design is centered over the top of the foot and the socks will be identical and I don't have to think too much to get the second one done. All is well at the Pink Lemon Twist...

Wednesday, March 08, 2006

Lucky Socks?

It occurred to me a couple of weeks ago that I needed some St. Patrick's Day socks. That's right. Needed. This was not a want. So I went looking for St. Patrick's Day yarn. Now, you may have noticed that I'm kinda picky about colors (hey, I'm female, I'm picky about a lot of things). St. Patrick's Day Green is dangerously close to a line that divides Colors I Wear from Colors I Don't Wear so you can imagine what it was like when I was shopping for St. Patrick's Day Green Yarn. Too bright. Too stripey. Too dark. Too yellow. Too blue. Too pink. Oh, wait, I'm not looking at greens anymore. Finally it dawned on me - I had already found the perfect green: Easter Egg dye pellet green! Last year I dyed some roving with the Easter Egg Dye Pellets* and got this wonderful green. It was Brazilian Emerald or a soft Kelly green. It evoked images of leprechauns (that's a hard word to spell by the way) on misty hills rather than crazy Americans with clovers painted on their faces, drinking green beer.

So, out came another skein of KnitPicks Color Your Own Fingering Weight (I really am running out of this stuff now - I should start ordering it by the case), 5 pellets of green went into the Big Pot O' Dye with some water and vinegar. I added the yarn and cooked it for an hour or so and got the glorious color you see above.

Then I had to choose a pattern. Obviously it had to have something to do with St. Patrick's Day or Ireland or, well you understand. Right there in Barbara Walker's First Book of Really Great Knitting Patterns For All Occasions - Cloverleaf Eyelet Rib! I added a couple more stitches in the purl sections to make it an 8 stitch repeat and topped it with 17 rounds (get it?) of K1P1 ribbing and soon I'll have some St. Patrick's Day Socks!

*I used the PAAS brand Easter Egg Dye Pellets and of the original 6 colors, purple seems to be a little unstable - fading randomly to blue. The 3 new colors they added last year: Pink, Lime, and turquoise, seem to be very unstable. The color didn't hold on either the eggs or wool. I haven't seen this year's egg dye packs yet so I don't know if they have the new colors in them or not and of course they might have done the dye differently, but I thought I'd mention it to anyone who is thinking about doing some Easter Egg Yarn!

Tuesday, March 07, 2006

Speak to Me

Over the weekend, I plyed the singles from the Spinner's Hill Batts. At Maryland last year I got some teal, bluey green batts and some not-quite-royal-blue batts. I got an equal amount of each so I could ply them together and knit a sweater from them. I had spun up 2 ounces of each as singles and here is the finished yarn after plying. Because the blue and the green are so similar both colorwise and valuewise, the barberpole effect is very subtle. I knit up a swatch yesterday to see what the yarn feels like knitted and you can see how it came out - the two colors together give the knitted fabric an almost iridescent quality. I love the way the yarn looks. I love the way the yarn looks knitted. I love the feel of the knitted swatch. I love the drape of the knitted swatch. So, what's the problem? The yarn isn't speaking to me and telling me what it wants to be. I know it will be a lightweight sweater: more for Spring or Fall than Winter. I know it will be soft and drapey - there's not enough structure to it to be super fitted or tailored. I don't know what kind of shape the sweater will be. I don't know what stitch I'll use for it (although I'm loving the way it looks in Stockinette Stitch). I will get back to spinning more yarn now that I know I'm happy with things, but I hope it starts talking soon. Until then, I'll be the one walking around with a knitted swatch, mumbling to myself.

Monday, March 06, 2006

Yep, another pair of socks...

While I was doing my Olympic Knitting, Caleb would walk up (several times a day) and ask who I was knitting socks for. (I have to give the kid credit, he knew they were socks even before they were at the heel. He knows things about knitting.) I told him they were for me -its easier to knit socks for yourself because your feet are always convenient. You don't have to wake someone up to find out when to start the toe decreases or how long they would like the leg of the sock to be. This is important in Athletic Knitting Events. Every time I would tell him the socks were for me, he would just sigh dramatically and walk away. So, when the Olympics were over, I pulled out the Harvest yarn I had spun (Harvest Roving from Linden Lane Farm) and started knitting him a pair of socks. I had promised to knit him some socks from this, and as you can see, now he has a pair! Since Wool-Sock-Weather-For-Little-Boys is coming to a close, I tried to make them a bit large so they'll fit this fall. I knit these on size 1 needles (2.25mm) which, in retrospect, was probably insane. I seriously debated frogging the first one and starting over while I was doing the gusset, but decided against it. Every little boy needs socks that can stand up to concrete! I've got more of this yarn that I'll knit a pair of for myself, but I'll use size 2's for my socks.

This makes 7 pairs of socks for this year! I think I'm well on my way to clearing out all the storebought socks from my sock drawer by the end of the year. That green thing? At the left of the picture? I have no idea what that is or how it got there.

Thursday, March 02, 2006

Cough, Cough, Bleah!

No knitting today. No spinning today. Caleb and I have Strep Throat so its all yucky noses all the time around here. Pass the Kleenex please...

Wednesday, March 01, 2006

Knitting Olympic Mom

You saw them in progress, here are the finished socks my Mom made for the Knitting Olympics! As you can tell, she stopped the double seed stitch on the feet and just knit them in stockinette. I love how the texture reflects the light differently and makes the colors look brighter on the bumpy tops of these socks. Mom finished these Sunday. They look great Mom!