Thursday, February 28, 2008

Has It Come to This?

At the Sheep last night, Emily and I were chatting about the wonders of Elizabeth Zimmerman's work.

And Emily reminded me that in EZ's Opinionated Knitter book, there is a pattern for long underwear. (Pic of completed baby version.) For adults, she does a strap under the foot that reminds me of the stirrup pants I wore in the 1980s. (Yes, I admit it, and I don't care who knows.)

And you know, given the never-ending nightmare of a winter we're having, I think I may well cast on for a set. She recommends a worsted weight, so they wouldn't take that long. And maybe spring will have come by the time they're finished....

Monday, February 25, 2008

As I Feared/If The Needles Don't Fit...

After one evening gamely working away on the world's loudest sweater... tinkle tinkle tinkle of the metal dpns... I've given up again.

I need 5mm bamboo dpns.

It's not just that the needles are noisy, it's that they're slippery and hard to handle, and strangely unforgiving. It really is quite startling to me how different the experience can be.

I often talk in my classes about how swatching is a useful exercise to determine whether you're going to enjoy working with a particular yarn. But the point applies just as well for the needles, too.

Will be needle shopping later today.

Thursday, February 21, 2008

It's not all socks...

I've picked up an abandoned project, Handmaiden's Jane sweater.

It's a neat idea -- worked in one piece, with an origami sorta construction. You work the back sideways, and construct the sleeves from the top half of the back stitches, and the two fronts from the lower half. You fold the two fronts up and across the front, for a wrap-around effect.

The colour really isn't reading in the picture, but it's a nice bright but not too garish lime green.

Working on it the other night, I remembered why I'd put it down. I modified the sleeves to be worked in the round (of course), and my only appropriately sized (5mm) dpns are metal. And the tinkling is driving me insane. (Not to mention poor Norman who was trying to pay attention to the television.) I might have to get new needles to finish it.

It will be just the thing for those not-quite-freezing-cold but-still-not-very-warm days of spring.

Sunday, February 17, 2008

Basic Ribbed Sock for Men

By popular demand! I am very flattered that people are using and enjoying this pattern.

I have a few variations in mind... watch this space over the next month or so. I'll also compile all the size variations into one post, so it's a bit easier to read.

In the meantime...

Basic Ribbed Sock Sized for Men
Refer to basic pattern here. Notes on resizing for women here.

Cast on 64 sts for a smaller man's foot, 68 sts for a larger man's foot.

Work 8 ins/20 cm for leg.

Work heel on first 31 (35) sts of round. Work 23 (25) heel rows.

Work the heel turn as follows:
RS: K21 (23) , skp, turn.
WS: P11, p2tog, turn.
RS: K11, skp, turn.

and repeat the last two rows to turn the heel. You’ll have 13 left over, and pick up 16 (17) sts for the gusset. Then decrease the gusset down to 64 (68) sts for the foot.

And of course, lengthen the foot to suit – toe decreases start 5cm/2 ins short of your foot length.

(For those who are doing the math, the only really tricky bit is making sure that the ribbing lines up nicely on the foot. That is, you want to work the heel sts on the first 4x+3 sts so that the heel sts start and end with three knit sts, and there's a purl st running down each side of the instep sts.)

Saturday, February 16, 2008

Mmmm... Bunny....

Despite not being a pink sorta girl, nor really an angora girl, have fallen quietly in love...

Cottage Craft Angora, in pink. One skein! I chose a traditional, reversible Shetland lace pattern, and worked until I'd just about run out of yarn, then cast off.

It's just the sort of thing to combat the winter blahs. Ideal for cheering up that winter coat you're seriously tired of wearing by now.

Pattern available from Patternfish, Ravelry, and at The Purple Purl.

This pattern uses one skein (120-150m) of the softest, most luxurious fibre you have in your stash. Come on, you know you have something in the bottom of a box somewhere, something you couldn't afford to buy more than one of?

Thursday, February 14, 2008

More Socks

.5000001 of a pair of Socks That Rock in "Loch Ness".

That is, one full sock and the cast-on for the second.

Seriously good travelling project, which was good, because I was travelling. Compact, interesting, yet can be worked with little attention and even the barest of holds on the handrail in the subway car. (I suspect the Beastie Boys weren't thinking of knitting as they sang "Doing fine on the 1 and 9 line", but I was, and I couldn't help but sing it to myself.)

Anyway, yes. Simple stocking stitch body.

Confession time, though... I bought this colourway more because of the name than the actual colours itself. Yeah, loving the lime, and it's a cool finished effect, but if you'd described the yarn to me (browns and light blue and some greens and yellows) I would have said no.

Anyone else been sucked in? Bought a colourway because it had a great name? The Sweet Georgia sock yarns are particularly well named -- for characters in my favourite TV show, for movies, for music references.

Will be interested to see how these wear...

Monday, February 11, 2008

It's Not Just Socks, Y'Know/Email Address Change

A design project underway.

Pink angora lace to chase away the winter blahs. I don't even like pink and it's cheering me up.

Swatches show a bunch of different ideas in development. The plastic bag is to try to keep the yarn nice and clean, and to minimize the shedding all over the rest of my darker coloured knitting-in-progress. Angora is lovely, but it does shed.

If you're trying to get hold of me using the email address, note that it's going away. If you need to contact me, there's a link at the bottom of this page, or use firstname at wisehildaknits dot com.

Friday, February 08, 2008

FO: The Tweedy Socks/Ribbing Needles

Stash sock yarn... not really sure what it is, the ball band disappeared. It's traditional sock yarn, with nylon. Using my standard sock recipe as per the Knitty article. 2.5mm needles.

I've been teaching a few sock classes of late, and we use my standard sock recipe as the basis for designing custom-fit socks. My standard sock recipe calls for the use of smaller needles for the ribbing. I am a filthy hypocrite on this point... I long ago abandoned the use of ribbing needles for socks.

It's partially because socks are my favourite travelling project, and if I'm travelling (whether on a streetcar, subway or a plane), I don't want to bother with any unnecessary equipment.

Plus I'm not sure they're required, strictly speaking. Smaller needles for ribbing allow the ribbing to pull in more, and mitigate the stretching out. For sweaters, when you want a tighter cuff/lower edge, this makes sense.

But for socks, I don't bother. Two reasons: I tend not to do a ton of ribbing at the cuff -- as per my Basic Ribbed Sock design, I find k1 p1 ribbing very tedious.

And perhaps -- more to the point -- if you design your sock well, it fits your leg and doesn't fall down so you don't need the tighter ribbing to keep it up.

Yes, that's right! A sock that actually fits. Back to my point in the Knitty article, if you're going to make socks you may as well make 'em to fit. I'm modestly sized -- not very tall, small feet, narrow ankles -- and I find that one-size-fits-all socks are always too big, and even the smaller size of a multi-size pattern is often a bit big. So I make 'em to fit. (I refer you back to my standard sock recipe .)

And they don't fall down! And therefore I don't need tighter ribbing! And so I don't use ribbing needles. Now, I do use a slightly smaller needle for the entire thing -- 2.5mm rather than 3mm.

There are knitters out there who might disagree with me violently. And this is the great part about this sort of thing -- we're ultimately designing and working to suit our own needs. I just don't happen to need to work my ribbing on smaller needles.

Thursday, February 07, 2008

Just Socks Excerpt Online: Free Slipper Pattern

Free Moccasin Slipper Pattern

Excerpted from "Lion Brand® Yarn Just Socks" edited by Shannon Okey. Photography by Jack Deutsch. Copyright © 2007. Reprinted by permission of Potter Craft.

Tuesday, February 05, 2008

FO: Basic Ribbed Sock; More on Sock Yarn

Hey, that's convenient! I've just finished a pair of my own Basic Ribbed Socks, worked using the instructions for the smaller size.

Yarn: Fleece Artist Merino sock yarn. It comes as a kit, but I ignore the pattern because it's awful. (See previous post on this topic.)

I've used this yarn several times before. Other than concerns about wear (which aren't really the fault of the yarn, it's all about the appropriateness of the application), I've been happy with it.

But look at this...

these are the same yarn, same skein, and there's a fairly big difference in the colouring. It's ok, it's not the end of the world, but one part of the skein is definitely lighter. It's not how the yarn was stored, as it was stored in the skein, and I only wound it into a ball shortly before I began to knit. And in the store, it wasn't anywhere near a window. It's impossible that this is fading, it's a manufacturing problem.

I'm disappointed.

Another nudge back towards "commercial" sock yarn?

Sunday, February 03, 2008

Resizing the Basic Ribbed Sock

From a request on Ravelry... I'm easy to find there, BTW... like the Harlot, my ID is basically my blog address.

The sock at the standard 60 sts fits women's shoe sizes 6 to 8 1/2 no problems.

For a smaller foot -- up to size 6 1/2 or so -- cast on and work 56 sts for the leg. The rest remains much the same -- heel is worked on 27 sts (therefore you're putting 29 sts on hold for the instep), 21 heel rows (although I'd go down to 19 if you're working for a very small foot) pick up 15 (again, 14 for a very small foot) for the gusset. Work gusset decreases so you're back down to 56 stitches. And start the toe decreases 5cm/2 inches short of the desired foot length.

For a larger foot -- size 9 or above -- cast on 64 sts. Work an additional 1-3cm/1/2 - 1 in for the leg.

Work the heel on 31 sts and work 23 heel rows. The heel turn would go like this....

RS: K21, skp, turn.
WS: P11, p2tog, turn.
RS: K11, skp, turn.

and repeat the last two rows to turn the heel. You’ll have 13 left over, and pick up 16 sts for the gusset. Then decrease the gusset down to 64 sts for the foot.

And of course, lengthen the foot to suit – toe decreases start 5cm/2 ins short of your foot length.

Anyone want a men's version?

Friday, February 01, 2008

Because he loved Lizard Ridge as much as I do

I always considered Nathan an honourary knitter.

If I believed in this sort of thing, I would hope that kitty heaven is staffed with knitters working on large blanket projects that can be lain about upon. He deserves it.