Tuesday, October 31, 2006

FO: Socktoberfest Socks

I wasn't sure if I would finish these by the end of October, but here they are!

Yarn: 1-4 oz skein Lapis merino sock yarn
Supplier: Black Bunny Fibers
Needles: 40" US 0 circular needles, cast off with 32" US 2 circular needles
Pattern: toe-up socks with crocheted provisional, my own heel (an almost faux heel flap), calf shaping and picot-type bind off

Robyn had expressed a little bit of confusion about what I meant by an "increase seam", so I figured I would include a photo of that. I really like the look of this.

The bind-off was a case of going with what the universe gives you. A few rows into the picot edge it became clear that not only was it sticking out rather than going straight up (which is common if you don't use a smaller needle size), the edge actually wanted to point down. I suspect that this has to do with the way I knit which I am told is somewhat odd and involves sort of working "under" the stitch.

The heel was an attempt to try something a little bit different. I am sure that someone else has thought of something similar though. I worked in the round, increasing for a "gusset" and then worked a little bit of short row shaping before working a heel stitch pattern over half the stitches while using decreases to use up the "gusset" stitches. The result is a fairly snug ankle that I am pretty happy with. Although it looks somewhat like a heel flap, no stitches were picked up.

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Saturday, October 28, 2006

Pre-felted Pumpkin Basket

Woohoo the knitting and weaving in of ends is done! Off to the washing machine with a load of jeans with you little pumpkin.

Today is so wet that it is unlikely to dry quickly, but at least we are on our way. Think good drying thoughts towards this being ready for Halloween.

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Friday, October 27, 2006

Lonesome Skein Stash

The first step is admitting that you have a problem...This is my stash of single skeins (less than 250 yards each as per the community guidelines). If you are thinking "hey that isn't that bad" please remember that I have next to no storage room in our apartment and that these are just the skeins I only have one of. Actually that isn't completely true as it doesn't include any single skeins of sock yarn, skeins with yardage over 250 yards or yarn for WIP.

This yarn has all different original plans. Some I had definite plans for. Others were gifts or swaps. A fair bit of it was just sale yarn that I had half an idea for. Some is acrylic from my initial period of learning to knit. There is even some recycled and hand-dyed that I did earlier this year. My hope with the Lonesomeskein KAL is to get this pile reduced to a more managable level.


Latvian Mittens

Aloha and Oreos posted about the Latvian mittens being given to NATO participants (more information can be found here).

This almost makes me sad that I haven't really done any colorwork. I have told myself that Latvian mittens are too garish, something I couldn't see myself or my family actually wearing. Yet I hover at the bookstore near the section of books on Latvian knitting.

You see my grandfather was born in Latvia (actually one of his parents grew up right outside of Riga). The part of me that identifies with that Latvian heritage feels like I should give this style of knitting a chance. And honestly I don't think I realized the variety in styles. Mittens traditionally from the Zemgale region for example are a lot calmer and in earth tones that really appeal to me. Perhaps this is something to look back into.

Tuesday, October 24, 2006


This weekend I managed to finish my first Artist Trading Card for the Creative Mom Podcast (CMP) exchange. Unlike the other card that I am working on (currently a sketch of a bamboo pot) that I have labored on and reconsidered countless times, I just sat down and completed this one in a short period. It is of a monarch butterfly and done in Cray-pas. I didn't even sketch first, just went right at it.

I surprised myself by really liking the media. I hadn't used it since I was in elementary school, but in many ways it reminds me of a slightly less ephemeral version of working in charcoal. I definately have a lot of room for improvement, but I enjoyed the process a great deal and look forward to doing more with it.

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WIP: One Skein 12:01

So after joining the Lonesome Skein Knitalong I had this great idea. I had a single skein of orange and another of green Cascade 220 that I had bought originally to make Knitty's felted pumpkin pattern. Then I saw Magknits'12:01, a felted pumpkin bag, perfect for trick-or-treating or the Thanksgiving table. (I am thinking with Andes mints inside.)

The problem was that I obviously can't read. 3 skeins of Cascade 220?! That will not help me destash my single skeins. So I am adlibbing. I am making a "One Skein"* version of 12:01, and yes I am keeping notes in case anyone is interested in the pattern. After one 2.5 inch setback this weekend I am moving along. I finished the bottom and am working on the sides now. I am hoping to finish it this week so I will have time to felt it and let it dry before Halloween.

*Note that this will probably take 1 skein of orange and a then some extra green.

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Monday, October 23, 2006

DMC Floss Bows

This weekend I tried a new organizational system for my cross stitch floss. R discovered the DMC bow system, recently and suggested it as a solution to my "box of floss". I will try it with my next piece and see how well I like it. If it works for me I will change over all of my floss to this system.
The floss shown here is that I need for Mother Earth which was produced by Michele Sayetta from the original Artwork of Jessica Galbreth. This is to be my first Heaven and Earth Design piece, and I want to try parking with it, since so many report better success with parking in HAED pieces.


Friday, October 20, 2006


By the way, if you cross stitch and don't mind stupendously large pieces if they are gorgeous, Heaven and Earth Designs is having 25% off all pieces until midnight tonight in honor of their 5 year "birthday".

I picked up a few patterns that I had been eyeing this afternoon. There were 2 in particular that I had been considering for a while. Scott Gustafson's St. Nick in His Study really struck both my partner and me. I am not usually a fan of seasonal pieces, but it has such a warm Scandinavian sort of feel to it. I also really liked Selena Fenech's Motherhood. I have a thing for mermaids and nayads, and this image is just beautiful.


WIP: Peacock Majesty (branch done)

I managed a little progress on TW's Peacock Majesty (last update can be found here). I feel like posting progress here encourages me to actually... well, make some. Other than long car trips, I hadn't been working on this piece much.

All of the tans/browns that were in the branch were a little ambiguous, so they were among those I picked up at Michael's the other day. I was pleasantly surprised by how quickly this section went by, especially when I consider how long I know the leafy sections will take.

(Also the moral of this is probably that I should scan these projects rather than use my camera. The tilty-ness is getting to me.)


Tuesday, October 17, 2006

Virgin Moleskine

Ok so if you look at the dates on these pages you will see that I actually did them last week, but never the less they are now scanned so I thought I would talk about them.

The first page (yes the very first page in my new moleskine) is a resketch of a Artist Trading Card I am working on for the Creative Mom Podcast exchange. This was actually my first time working with Prismacolor markers, and I am not sure what I think. This is an interesting technique to me, but I think I will explore grey scale before coming back to color in this media in the future.

The second page is an idea I had to get me out of a rut where I just wasn't drawing. For some reason I felt like I didn't have exactly the right thing or exactly the right materials or enough time. So to overcome those feelings I started my grocery list*. I was flipping through the sale flyers anyways, and thought using this starting place of food I could do some sketches. I really like how this combined art, practicality and functionality. The more I thought about it, the neater I thought is might be years from now to see what I was thinking of buying and how much I was willing to spend. I think this sort of prompt is one that I will probably do again, as I was really pleased not only with the results, but also how much better I felt after doing it.

It really was interesting to me that I could really see myself getting more confident as I went. The first thing I drew were the vine tomatos, which seem really tentative now. At first I considered going back over them, but then I decided to preserve that hesitation so that I could watch myself grow. The last sketch I did was the pear, which I loved! I have always had a fondness for drawing pears, and by that point I was really starting to feel like I had lost less of my ability to draw then I had feared.

*There is a funny story about this shopping. Between being in WI for a month, having a CSA share for produce/local eggs/hormone free milk, and stocking the freezer months ago with sale meats I had not been grocery shopping for the house in over 3.5 months! It seemed sort of odd to go in and be bombarded with all of the marketing. I was so overwhelmed that I ended up walking out pretty much with just pasta and yogurt.


Monday, October 16, 2006

Seminar Knitting & Sock Yarn Stash

Mondays are graduate seminar day here in Chemical and Biological Engineering. What does this mean? It means a full hour of uninterupted stockinette (ie no looking and almost no attention required) knitting time. I actually found that I was really sad last week was a holiday, since it mean no seminar and by extension I didn't get that hour of knitting or free snacks for that matter.

This is perfect for simple socks! So the BBF Lapis socks are a fair bit longer now.

So in the interest of full disclosure and apologies for the slight bluriness of the photo, this is my sock stash as of 10/12/06. (We won't discuss the "Soctoberfest" sock yarn that is on the way.) The sad/funny part of this story is that I had just finished a 6 month destashing period (no yarn buying at all) in August, in which I had been out of sock yarn for *months*. This is the result.

(For an annotated version of this image visit it in my Flickr gallery.)

Also I am a little bit late, but I thought I would respond to Lolly's second round of sock questions.

Do you have certain patterns planned for some of the yarns? Do you buy yarn and then choose a pattern?
Some of this is exactly planned, some only roughly planned, and some is not planned at all.
  • The orange Cascade Fixation in the bottom right hand corner is going to be a pair of socks for my future brother-in-law. My sister was sneaky and got me measurements. Nothing more exciting than simple stockinette is planned for now for now.
  • In the upper center part of the photo there are yellow, blues/browns/greens, yellow/black, and black singles skeins that will become children's socks. These will probably be stockinette socks.
  • There are 2 2oz balls of copper and 2 2 oz balls of black Jaggerspun Maineline. This is a 100% wool yarn that comes on cones. It is fairly fine for socks, but I find that on US 0s this makes a beautiful velvety insole in stockinette. These will become 2 more pairs of socks for my SO. I did a pair of seed stitch ribbed socks last time (actually one still needs the top ripped out and replaced), so maybe something different for these.
  • The Artyarns (green and brown) in the upper righthand corner are tentatively going to be socks for my aunt. Given the texture of the color, stockinette is likely.
  • The Trekking XXL (blue) in the lower lefthand corner will become socks for me. Stockinette is likely here too.
  • The Jawoll sock yarn (solid brown) in the center will probably become socks for the SO. Pattern is undecided.
  • The Cherry Tree Hill yarn (teal) in the lower lefthand corner will probably be socks for me. I wanted some solid stuff for me so I can do some textured knitting. These will either be cabled or some other highly textured knitting.
  • My Mind's Eye sock yarn in coral snake (not shown but it is black and red) will be socks for me.
  • The stripy Regia in the upper lefthand corner (german flag and rainbow) are thinking about becoming Jaywalkers.
  • The Lorna's Laces on the lefthand side (in Watercolor, Bittersweet, and Iris) will probably all be stockinette socks. Bittersweet is tentatively for my sister who wears both a lot of ornage and bright pink and can pull the combo off.
  • Everything else is completely undeclared.
Looks like quite a bit of stockinette in my future. It is boring, but it works out well for when I am supposed to pay attention to something else (see seminar discussion above).

Does a certain sock yarn you have in your stash take you back to a certain event? (where you were when you bought/received it? what was going on in your life at the time!)
  • A lot of this yarn was bought while I was in Wisconsin. Mostly this was at Lakeside Fibers (Lorna's Laces in Watercolors, Koigu, Artyarns, Maineline), but also some at Wisconsin Craft Market (mostly Patons).
  • All of the Cascade Fixation was bought at Mind's Eye Yarns in Cambridge, MA.
  • The leftover balls of lilac Artyarns Ultramerino at the bottom in the center were bought at Loop on out first real family vacation this year.
  • The Cherry Tree Hill was bought at Windsor Button in Boston, MA at the Boston Knit Out and Crochet Too '06.
  • I also do a fair amount of online shopping. Favorites sock yarn sources include Black Bunny Fiber, kpixie, and Carodan Farm. I don't get that same sense of community and memories with online shopping though. All the more reason to support my local LYSs. (Not that I will stop shopping online of course.)

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Lonesome Skein KAL

I just joined the Lonesome Skein Knitalong today. I have this really bad habit of picking up single skeins so I can try out a new yarn, but then I am often unsure what to make of them. And don't even get me started on sale yarn. Anywho, if you are interested in joining this KAL too, today is the last day to sign up.


Thursday, October 12, 2006

Soctoberfest Progress

Look! Here is proof that both there was sun in the Boston area today and that I have been working on these socks since my last photo update. They feel like they are moving slowly since they are on US Size 0s. Despite that they are such a joy to work on. I love the color. The fit is decent/good. But best of all I am incredibly amused by the "seam" of increases up the back. I think I am just gonna knit until I run out of yarn.

(Sort of crossposted to the Black Bunny Hop.)


Wednesday, October 11, 2006

Michael's Trip and Moleskine

Whew, I feel like I was lost in work this past week. Despite that and with the long weekend I have managed to get a few crafty things done though. I had hoped that home with the kidlette on Colombus Day we could do a few projects together, but we ended up snuggling up and reading together most of the day instead. I am a almost sad to have lost the project time, but it was really nice to spend time together in that way instead.

This weekend we did get to Michael's though, which was exciting. T added some art supplies to her online wishlist we started for the family. I picked up some DMC floss for TW's Peacock Majesty. I am usually good enough with color, so it drives me crazy when I can't figure out the beige from the medium tan to the light brown. Fortunately that kit has all the DMC colors listed along side the color, so I just picked up some of each of the ones I was nervous about. Who knows, maybe I will even work on that sometime next week.

I also picked up some Prismacolor markers. I had heard alot about them, and Michael's had that whole line of markers and marker packs on sale for 25% off. I just picked up the colors I needed for the Artist Trading Card I am working on. I have the image for one sketched, but I was unsure how I wanted to go further with it. Not wanting to waste the one I had started though, I thought I would play with the markers a bit first with a similar image in my new Moleskine. It is funny that I feel like I have no idea how to use markers to give me what I feel like I could accomplish with them. My child certainly has no such qualms. I have been reading different marker tutorials, but it has led me to feel like I would be happier starting with a grayscale set to establish technique before I start worryign about color too.

And yes I admit it, I broke down and got one. I really want to try art journalling to incorporate more drawing into my regular creative life. After working with the markers and a micron pen, I was a little disappointed by the fact that you can see slightly through the pages with these media. But then I remembered something I had heard a few weeks ago. In Episode 13 of the Creative Mom Podcast, Amy mentions the idea of prepping the pages of her Moleskine with paint before use. At the time, I admit, I didn't spend a lot of time reflecting on the potential of this technique, but when this problem came up, it seemed the perfect solution. I tried this on a few pages today with some acrylic paint I had forgotten I had and I am fairly pleased with the results. It isn't perfect, but I can really see this as a great way to work with more color too.


Wednesday, October 04, 2006

Sock History & a Bit of Spinning

My first pair of Socktober socks is going well. I just started the increases for the gusset a little bit ago. It won't be long until I turn the heel on these puppies.

Lolly posted yesterday afternoon asking about people's sock history. So here is mine:

When did you start making socks? Did you teach yourself or were you taught by a friend or relative? or in a class?
I just taught myself with all the great references in the internet. I made my first sock a year after I started knitting, in the winter of 2005. It's mate wasn't finished until this spring though. Oops! I taught myself, starting fromWendy's generic toe-up sock. I didn't actually try a cuff down sock for the first time until this spring.

What was your first pair? How have they "held up" over time?
My first completed pair was a pair of toe-up socks 2 at a time on magic loop for my daughter as my event for the Knitting Olymics 2005. They were made from Lion Brand Stripes in purple. They accidently got thrown in the wash, but have survived really well. They did relax a bit after they were first washed.

What would you have done differently?
I would have used a heel flap, as I have since found that a short row heel does not fit T's narrow heels very well.

What yarns have you particularly enjoyed?
I am an avid fan of Mind's Eye Yarns's wool/tencel sock yarn. I am also really enjoying the Black Bunny handpainted superwash merino for the Black Bunny Hop-A-Long.

Do you like to crochet your socks? or knit them on DPNs, 2 circulars, or using the Magic Loop method?
I only started crocheting recently, so I haven't crocheted any socks. I prefer magic loop or 2 circulars. I tend to use magic loop the most 2 socks at a time though.

Which kind of heel do you prefer? (flap? or short-row?)
Honestly I really like both, but I find that a flap fits more people better. Both fit me well though.

How many pairs have you made?
6 pairs

Also in honor of National Spinning and Weaving Week I actually broke out my wheel and spun some of the roving I had dyed this summer. The merino roving was from a small farm in NH (no website). I dyed it with citric acid and Wilton's cake dye (plum and mulberry). I am thinking of making this into a 3 ply, which I haven't tried before. I am not sure that I will be able to wait that long to ply it up though.

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Monday, October 02, 2006

FO: Stained Glass Doubleknit Hat

Yarn: 1 skein Koigu KPPPM P113 and 1 skein Gems Opal in black
Supplier: Lakeside Fibers in Madison, WI
Needles: 16" US 3 circular needles and US3 DPNs
Pattern: my own

I bought the yarn for this while I was on a research trip at the University of Wisconsin Madison. Although I had seen Koigu in person once before, this skein was the first one I ever bought. I liked it in the skein, but knitting it up I totally understand everyone's obsession with this yarn. This particular colorway reminded me so much of stained glass windows that I really wanted a pattern that emphasized that characteristic. Thus this pattern was dreamed up.

Yay I finished my stained glass inspired double knit hat! Some might have seen this in progress at the Boston Knit Out and Crochet Too's Blogger Table. This is not only the first real item that I have designed for myself, it is also my first double knit project. It definately has a few issues with evenness of tension that would have been improved with more skill, but I know that it will probably turn out better next time. I also chose not to care about worrying about jogless joins, but I think the pattern doesn't emphasis the lack all that much. If you were so inclined you could certianly do it though.

I am pretty happy with it, although I have run into a snag writing the instructions on the decreases on the top. They are a little less elegant than I might have wanted, but I really like the way the pattern gathers towards the crown of the hat. That isn't to say that it is weird or haphazard, it just lacks the simple elegance that my favorite patterns and mathematical proofs have.

Being double knit of course it is reversible. The more koigu side strikes me as a bit psychodelic at the moment, but it the grey winter twilights it may appeal to me more. Who knows.
I ended up with a little bit of each skein left over, more of the Koigu than the Gems Opal due to there being slightly less yardage on the Opal (pesky different linear densities!). On the glass head (why doesn't everyone have a glass head in their livingroom?) this looks a bit short, but my head is a little smaller and it covers my ears, which is what I wanted. The circumfrence has no negative ease for me, and maybe a little positive ease, which makes me think it would fit most people, as I have a small head. If you weren't fussy about how it messed up the decreases at the very end you could increase or decrease the circumfrence in approximately on inch increments.

I know Rosieglasses mentioned being willing to test knit this pattern. (Anyone else?) I probably will not have time to finish writing even a rough draft until next weekend at best, but maybe as late as the following weekend depending on how insane work stays.


Sunday, October 01, 2006


Goodbye September, hello Socktoberfest! It is no secret that I love sock knitting, especially for the bus. So this is right up my alley. So I am kicking off the season with a pair made from a some Black Bunny superwash merino in Lapis

Another great way I am extending my socky celebration for the rest of the year is that I just signed up for Lucy from Mind's Eye Yarns' sock club*. You may have heard about her sock yarn from the YarnHarlot. Let me tell you it is phenomenal stuff. It is a merino/tencel blend, and the tencel not only lends it strength as nylon would have, it also gives it a great shine and smoothness.

So anyways I dug through my stash last night to check out what I have for sock yarn. It is funny how you can forget what great stuff is in your stash. I have some Lorna's Laces, Regia, Mind's Eye Yarns, Cascade Fixation, and other some other great handpainted stuff. My family is totally getting socks and hats this year.

*The idea of Lucy's sock club is that each month you get a 4 oz skein of her great sock yarn, custom dyed for the sock club that month. Plus you $2 off each ball of yarn because you pay up front. I am super excited about what sort of colorways we will get.

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