Tuesday, January 30, 2007

16-17 century old socks

Someone I know recently posted a link to the Global Egyptian Museum's inventory webpage, which included this adorable find. These knit wool sock were found in an archaeological site in upper Egypt and were made in the 4th or 5th century for a child. More information about these can be found on this webpage.

The detail I love about these most is the separate big toe so that they could be worn with sandals. Also the different fabric bias on the foot versus the heel is really interesting, and results in a very cute "collar" at the ankle. And did anyone else notice that the stitches seem twisted? I wonder if this is because of the technique to make the fabric (probably the most likely).

Does this make anyone else want to go and recreate this historical find?


Monday, January 29, 2007

WIP: Wild N Crazy Man Socks

So I ordered some Mega Boots Stretch (Color 714) sock yarn to my SO some socks. Looks manly enough right? With his color phobia, it seems to be stretching his horizons a bit, but still within the realm of acceptableness.

Turns out when I went to wind this into a center pull ball, I discovered this color swatch (straight from Carodan Farm, whom I bought it from) was a wee bit misleading. It turns out that this is actually "pride socks". It stripes a tweedy red, orange, yellow, green, black all plied with a sobering solid purpley grey. The color swatch here is apparently the border of black/red section.

Exciting! Well fortunately being the people that we are this wasn't a big deal, but can you imagine how awful this could have been? I offered to make these into a pair of socks for me. I have done only the 2X2 leg ribbing so far, so it could be done. Salvbard has said that he will take them though. (I think he only says things like this to shock me though.) Of course this is with the disclaimer that they will stay inside his boots or just be worn around the house. Who knew? This has turned into an unexpected victory for color.

edit: I don't want to seem to be accusing Carodan of knowingly posting a misleading swatch. In fact I think they are a wonderful yarn provider. As evidence here is a cropped photo of this ball in it's previously un-knitted state in my stash. Doesn't it come across as a tweedy brown?

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Friday, January 26, 2007

Two New Rovings

As I was telling Robbyn and Ev Thursday night at Chatters, yesterday I was feeling inspired to dye some rovings. So I pulled out some Correidale roving from Misty of Three Elms Farm, and got to work. From the giant ball of roving, I made 2 lengths of 4 oz each. Then I set them to soaking in warm water with a few drops of dish detergent.

This first one was done with a semi-cold pour method. The water was just over 100*F when I started adding the pink dye, letting dye gradients do a lot of the work as it spread out from the glob (technical term there) of Wilton's Icing Dye in Dusty Rose. Then I let it come up to just under 190*F so that the dye would strike quickly for the greens.

My thought process for these was to mimic one of my favorite plants, the bleeding heart. It is mostly greens, with some subtle variations mimicking the play of light and shadow on this shade tolerant plant. Then there are several shades of pink, the brightest being that distinctive "traditional bleeding heart" bright pink with touches of white.

Materials for this included: roving, citric acid, Wilton's icing dye in dusty pink, leaf green, and kelly green, and 2 squeeze bottles.

This second roving was done with a hot pour method. I got the bath and wool up to just under 190*F before adding in the dye. This was super easy especially with the squeezy bottles. I really want to play with this method more.

This roving reminded me of algae. Okay, maybe not the most glamorous of living beings, but they are still mighty useful! Materials for this included: roving, citric acid, Wilton's icing dye in leaf green and aqua, and 2 squeeze bottles.

I have to say that this wool was pure pleasure to work with. It's pale color made it take color very well. And although it is soft, it really stood up to my not always super gentle handling without any inadvertent felting. I just wish my wheel was fixed so that I could spin some up. I am not sure enough of my drop spindle abilities to use these rovings with a drop spindle just yet.


Sunday, January 21, 2007

FO: Girly Anklets

Yarn: Gem Opal & Art Yarn Ultramerino 4
Supplier: Lakeside Fibers and Loop respectively
Needles: 40" US Size 1 Addi Turbos, 32" US Size 0 Inox
Yardage: 121 yards Opal + 50 yards Ultramerino 4
Marathon Yardage: 767 yards
Pattern: toe-up anklets with short row toes and heels in contrasting yarn and Method 4 picot bind-off

This pair of anklets was to do some stash busting. I had bought the white Opal over the summer to make a pair of anklets to wear with a costume at Arisia this year, although I ended up finding another solution to that costuming problem. Also since the yarn ran a little short for a pair of anklets, I used up some of leftover Ultramerino from making my mom the Snowflake socks.

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Saturday, January 20, 2007

LYSs: Been There

Moth Heaven's Gottem Needem post got me thinking about my list of "gottems". The following is my list of LYSs that I have both visited in person and bought something from:

The Knitting Room, Arlington, MA
Lakeside Fibers, Madison, WI
Lettuce Knit, Richmond, VA
Loop, Philadelphia, PA
Mind's Eye Yarns, Cambridge, MA
Windsor Button, Boston, MA
Woolcott & Co, Cambridge, MA
The Wool Basket, Duxbury, MA

And while I have bought from WEBS online, I still have yet to be there in person. But hopefully soon! Also in my area that I am interested to visit are: Wild and Wooly in Lexington, The Knitting Kitten in Cambridge and Circles in Jamaica Plain.

Where have all of you been? And do you have any suggestions of places I shouldn't miss if I am ever in the area?

Thursday, January 18, 2007

FO: Preemie Hats

A friend recently sent me over to read an LiveJournal post by someone who is trying to collect 100 preemie hats in the local area. My friend just knew I was a knitter, but little did she know I am also trying to use up sock weight yarn. This these 2 projects were born, and they are great. Practically instant gratification! (And please note my stunning model who was rescued from the Goodwill bag just for this shoot.)

The first was made with yarn left over from the ball of Regia 6-ply that I had made my daughter's mittens with. Best of all no left overs. At the end there was absolutely none left over from the single skein.

Yarn: Regia 6 ply Crazy Color color 5263
Supplier: Little Knits
Pattern: Bev's Preemie 3 Needle Cap
Needles: US Size 3 DPNs for ribbing & US Size 6 DPNs
Yardage: ~20 yards
Marathon Yardage: 580 yards

Yarn: Regia 6 ply Crazy Color color 5261
Supplier: Little Knits
Pattern: my own ribbed hat pattern
Needles: US Size 3 DPNs
Yardage: ~25 yards
Marathon Yardage: 605 yards

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Wednesday, January 17, 2007

WIP: Print 'O the Wave Stole

This fall I hesitantly offered to make my sister a wedding shawl. I didn't want to impose my style on her wedding at all, but I would love to make her a keepsake from this special time. Fortunately she was not opposed, although we had some problems finding a pattern that really appealed to her. Then I sent her to Eunny Jang's Print o' the Wave Stole, and she suddenly got really enthusiastic.

During the holidays she kept asking me if I had started it yet. "No, not yet," I replied. "I will after New Years." Well it is after New Years so I figure it is time to keep my promise. So I cast on tonight, and it seems to be going well. Per her preference, I will not be grafting this in the middle. Instead I just cast on the 80 center stitches and was on my way.

Here is the first repeat so far. I am knitting it in Zephyr (50% merino/50% silk), and it is absolutely delicious to knit. I just need to keep plugging at it so that I can get it done for the wedding in early July.

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Tuesday, January 16, 2007

FO: child's mittens

Yarn: Regia 6 ply Crazy Color color 5263
Supplier: Little Knits
Yardage: ~101 yards
Marathon Yardage: 560 yards

This past week winter has finally made a presence in new england. So when I pointed out to my daughter that she should make sure that she brought a pair of gloves or mittens to school, I was a little distressed when she claimed that she couldn't find any. That couldn't be possible; there were a full dozen at the beginning of this winter. Well indeed she was correct, because when I went into the outerwear closet I couldn't find any either. The only explanation for this predicament that makes sense to me is that it has been so warm that when I send her off with a pair, she is taking them off and leaving them on the playground or something, forgotten.

So I whipped up this pair over the weekend while I was at Arisia from some stash Regia 6-ply. Notice the very attractive cord for running though her coat sleeves. With any luck these will stay found a little longer than their predecessors.

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Friday, January 12, 2007

FO: Poi Gloves

Yarn: Knit Picks Pallette (yellow, black, red)
Needles: US Size 2 bamboo DPNs
Pattern: a fusion of Hot Tamale and Cigar

Ok, this FO requires a bit of explanation. I have a friend who spins fire poi, and I wanted to make her gloves that she could spin in. Wool was essential for warmth and for safety. (Wool is self-extinguishing!) To adapt cigar, she needed less coverage on the thumb, pointer and middle finger due to where and how much dexterity she needs for the style that she spins. Also I loved the idea of putting flames on the backs, so I adapted a chart from Hot Tamale.

Other things I considered included longish ribbed cuffs to stay close to her arm and not gap when she was moving. And you may notice that her fingers are longer than mine so the ring fingers and pinkies seem long on me. I had her try them on initially and found them a bit snug, so I reworked the fingers to give her more range of movement.

My major complaint about this project was the 50 gazillion ends. Ok, maybe not 50 gazillion, but it felt like it. This project has been done for months, but I just couldn't make myself sit down to weave them in before this week. Boy am I happy not to have that looming over me anymore!

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Thursday, January 11, 2007

FO: Trekking Man Socks

Knitting for my SO is a fine balance of as plain as he wants and as boring as I am willing to knit. This yarn was a great compromise. I still got the "oh look a new color" experience that is Trekking. He got grey, grey, grey with a boring pattern. Everybody wins.
Yarn: Trekking XXL
Supplier: Woolcott & Co.
Needles: 40" US Size 1 Addi Turbos circulars
Pattern: my basic boy (toe-up) sock pattern
Yardage: 459 yards

What is my basic boy sock pattern? It is a stockinette foot, short row heel, 3X1 ribbing, 1X1 cuff, and sewn bind off (if toe-up). I have found that this fits my boy very well. It is stretchy enough but still smart looking. It is plain, but the 3X1 leg is a little more fun to knit than a 2X2 leg would be. Also he likes no negative ease, which makes the toe of the sock look a little baggy, but also means that he will actually wear the socks.

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Wednesday, January 10, 2007


Ha! I am such a joiner. There have been a bunch of knit-alongs recently that have perked my attention. I have already started a couple of them, but I figured that I would take a moment to briefly talk about them.

Project Spectrum 2.0
The new color system intrigues me, and as you may have noticed I like creative prompts available even if I don't follow them. I also really like the idea of doing art or crochet or dyeing in addition to the knitting.

Lime & Violet's Sock Marathon
There are somethings that one just shouldn't know. The total length of my sock yarn stash is one of them. Not including non-sock weight yarn (though I may make some more worsted socks) I have 16.4 miles or 26.3 km of sock yarn. Yipes! I would like to knit at least 2 miles of this before April is here.

Knit from Your Stash 2007
I am not a New Years Resolution type, but I do like to challenge myself. Last year I went yarn shopping free from Febuary to August (6 months) so I know that I can do this. Plus I am looking to graduate and possible move in the next year or so, thus less stuff to move is good. As seen above with the Sock Marathon, I have a lot of sock yarn since socks are one of my favorite things to knit. I also have yarn for a few sweaters that I have been thinking about, so there is no need to buy anthing there.

My one major difference from the stated rules is that sock yarn will count. Also I have at least 2 babies being born this year among my friends and family. I will endeavor to knit from stash from them, but will consider purchasing for them if need be.

Dulaan Project 2007
I know I have mentioned this project in the past, but I thought it was worth mentioning again. This is a great one for using up odd ball yarn I have around the house. I have already done 5 projects for the 10,000 or Bust drive, but I will probably do a few more items this year.

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Tuesday, January 09, 2007

Sock Surgery

This post is not for the squimish. You have been warned.So I was knitting a pair of anklets from a ball of Gems Opal in my stash, when I got to where I was going to start the short row heel. I looked at how much yarn I had left and was a little dubious, so I weighed it. Out of a 50 g skein (normally enough for anklets for me), I had only 10 g left without having started the heel at all.

I knew that this couldn't be right. There was no way I could finish these with that little. So I faced a few options. As I was unwilling to completely rip these out and start over, the most compelling was to use a fine gauge DPN to hold the stitches, make a quick incision, rip out the toe and then reknit it with some extra sock yarn.

Whew! It is amazing how much work I will do to get out of some work huh? So here is where I started removing stitches from that captive row. This actually went really smoothly. I was surprised.

And here is the sock sans toe. Please disregard the stitch that slipped off. I was fudging with these while getting ready to take a photo and apparently didn't notice it. Fortunately nothing bad happened, and I fixed it immediately following the photo.

Then all that was left was re-knitting the toe actually as I would if this was a cuff-down sock. Tada! Now I just need to add coordinating heels and then knit the cuffs. Not bad!

Note that if you had worn out a toe or heel you could replace them in just the same way. I had the idea this was possible given the provisional cast-ons I have done in the past, but after I finished the operation here I found a good description of how to do this in The Twisted Sister Sock Workbook. This book is great and full of such handy little things.

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Sunday, January 07, 2007

Wheel Surgery

As mentioned a while ago, my spinning wheel recently broke. Unfortunately the only solution seemed to be surgery. So today my lovely partner took it into the machine shop at work. The small hole you see at the lower left is where the brake used to be.

What was left of the old brake was cut off, and then the pieces that were still inside were carefully drilled out. The simplest solution would be to replace the broken brake with a pieces of dowel of appropriate size (perhaps with decorative knob?). We are discussing alternative solutions though that may lead to us not having to fix the same problem in the future. You have to love living in a household of engineers.

PS. I also wanted to make a quite shout out to my partner who has started a Photoblog chronicling his Project 365 participation. Not only does he do great machine working as evidenced above, but he is also handy with a camera. Actually he took the photo in this post as well.


Saturday, January 06, 2007

FO: Purple Handspun Hat

I forgot to post about this when I finished it initially, but I am done with the matching hat for my handspun mittens. I have been wearing both hat and mittens often since the wind has become rather sharp and biting since that 60+ *F weekend we had last week. The yarn is so soft, fluffy and warm that these items are such a joy to put on every morning. It almost makes me not mind the weather, almost.
The image here is a little washed out. For more true color see the mitten post as this is made with the same yarns.

Yarn: my handspun
Cuff Yarn: Debbie Bliss Merino Aran in color 604
Fiber Content: 100% merino
Needles: US Size 6 circulars and DPNs

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Friday, January 05, 2007

FO: Child's Seaman Hat

Yarn: recycled sweater, hand dyed by me
Fiber Content: 100% wool
Needles: US Size 6 DPNs
Pattern: based in concept on Needle Beetle's Seaman's Cap

I am happy to announce that I have another Dulaan hat done. (It is here modeled by my ever so obliging kid.) This used up a most of a single lone skein (>100 g) of yarn that I had recycled from a sweater and then dyed with Wilton's icing dyes (kelly green and cornflower blue) and citric acid. When I did the initial dyeing I was really surprised to find the pink/purple which separated out from the cornflower blue. That is part of the reason I enjoy the process so much though, these little surprises.

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Thursday, January 04, 2007

EDM 96 Something Sweet

On Christmas morning after the kids had opened their gifts from Santa, I sat on the floor with them while they played with new toys and I sketched a candy dish my step-mother had gotten.

This drawing was done in (dry) watercolor pencil on a moleskine page that had been prepped with acrylic paint. Having seen how much wetting really makes the colors pop when I did last week's Illustration Friday challenge, I almost want to try it here as well. I am too nervous with the acrylic underneath though, knowing that is water-soluble as well.

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Wednesday, January 03, 2007

IF: Pheonix

I love the fact that the phoenix is the first Illustration Friday prompt of the new year. It just seems so auspicious. This was a quick sketch on a unprepped moleskine page I did while hiding in a Starbucks yesterday from the cold weather. It was done in watercolor pencil that I later wet with a damp natural sponge.

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Tuesday, January 02, 2007

Creative Gifts

I am very lucky to be surrounded by generous people, many of whom want to encourage my creative endeavors. The award for most odd yet awesome gift from goes to my mom, gifter of the clear hand that will go with my clear glass head for taking blog photos. I already mentioned the Twisted Sister Sock Workbook in my knitting library post, but I have been reading it over the last few days and it is so great that it deserves mention again. Have I mentioned that my sister rocks?

Also in the above photo is a silicone snowflake mold (Have you tried these? I love them for muffins and loaves of bread. They have much better clean up than traditional pans.), "bird" embroidery scissors that will go in my cross stitch bag, a handy stamp with common phrases to go on cards, and a box for storing 12"X12" scrapbook paper.

This year may very well be known as the year of the the scrapbook paper. Between the stuff I got at Sparks Craft Studio when they stopped carrying that size (Why? It is great stuff!) and that I bought with a JoAnn's Fabric gift certificate from my brother (in both 12"X12" and 8"X8" sizes) I have tons. I really need to use some up before getting any more.

My aunt also got me a gift certificate to Knitting Treasures in Plymouth, MA (sorry no website) which was mentioned by Knitty D and the City awhile back as one of their favorite yarn stores to visit when they went to the cape. Despite having a lot of family on the south shore, I had never been in there so I was really excited to do so. I have to say they have a very good selection, and the owner seemed quite nice (if confused about the fact that I was the knitter and not my mom). I probably would have been quite torn about what to get had I not seen these beauties in the clearance basket. The Fortissima was just $10 for the pair and is in my colors. The Lang Jawoll was $3 a skein! But there weren't two of any of the more man-friendly colors. So I now have a dark brown, dark navy and black for use in toes and heels. Dark solid sock yarns are always useful.

To top it all off I also received a package from my LJ Secret Swap Pal. I can't believe how much stuff Moosey got in there! I am not sure what I will make with the yarns, though I suspect the Moda Dea Gleam has been claimed by my daughter for trim on a hoody. The rest of it all has already been adsorbed into the stash with purpose. I have been dying to knit the Simple Knitted Bodice and that is to-be-knit this year. The crochet hook case will be put to work soon. (If you can't see it, it is hidden beneath the glare in my less than stellar photo.) And then there is the super cute wooden needles with matching stitch markers. The wood feels really smooth, and I think it would work well with many yarns.

There was also some yummy minty treats inside, which is fabulous because I am a mint fanatic. I have already broken into the peppermint lip butter, and I will be using the spearmint soap as soon as I finish Misti's goat milk and honey soap.

I am holding off on the sweets in an attempt to make them last. I know that the Ghiradelli white mint squares in particular are wonderful, and the peppermint bark looks great too. I am not sure what I will do with the charms though, as they seem to have somewhat small rings. I can't decide if I want to use them in jewelry making or just put them on larger jump rings for knitting ease with larger needle sizes. Decisions, decisions!

All and all I just wanted to say to the universe in general and to my generous friends and family that I am grateful. Not just for the supplies (though that too), but because I appreciate the unstated support behind them that my creativity is important to them and that they would like to see me pursue it. The gifts are welcome, but as always it is the thought that counts. And that thought is one that I really appreciate.