Wednesday, October 31, 2007

Ravenclaw II Socks

It is the night of the Great Pumpkin! Happy Halloween everybody.

I am afraid I will not be home for the holiday as I need to run Chiquita here there and everywhere this afternoon and evening, so I thought I would post a little earlier in the day than I usually do.

With Halloween comes the end to Socktoberfest. I am afraid that I did not really get to work on socks as much as I would to have liked since I really needed to finish my Hogwarts Sock Swap II socks. Honestly I have never had so many problems with one pair of socks in my life. I tried 3 different patterns in 2 directions, with countless times I ripped back at the heel. And yes I did end up doing the sock surgery, because I am a bit anal apparently. They have since gone out in the mail though and I am anxiously awaiting their arrival. So if you are my pal you may not want to read all the way to the end of this post since I will include a photo after my discussion.

When I found out that my pal was in Ravenclaw and preferred movie colors (blue and silver rather than blue and bronze) I was pretty excited. The socks I had done for the last round were in book colors, so I got to do something a little different. I had had in my stash some Knit Picks Memories in Yukon that I had been saving for a special occassion, and this seemed to be the time. Amusingly the contrast yarn I chose was also discontinued shortly after I started this pair.

I know that yarn manufacturers like any other business have to really think about which lines sell best, but I am really sad that Memories was discontinued. It feels really nice and the colors are great. True I might wish that the color lengths were a little longer, but otherwise it is a great yarn. (You may remember that I knit these socks alternating strands to minimize the flashing.) Plus it is pretty amazing how well this yarn held up to all the ripping out. I guess that everybody is looking for superwash yarns these days though, since all of the Knit Picks sock yarns have gone in that direction.

Many thanks to Salvbard for modeling the socks, because although I have sock blockers they are for smaller feet than these socks. And let's face it, socks not on the foot or a blocker just look... well flaccid, especially with the ribbing down the foot. For some reason it hadn't previously occurred to me before than a men's small foot is just about the same as a women's large.

Knit For: "Avada Finchfletchley" of Girl With a Twist
Yarns: Knit Picks Memories in Yukon and Jaeger Matchmaker Merino 4 Ply
Pattern: Basic Ribbed Socks (men's size) from Vogue Knitting on the Go: Socks Two

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Tuesday, October 30, 2007

Slytherin Mittens

When I went to catch the bus on Monday it was so cold in the early morning that it was clear that I needed to get a move on finishing my mittens. Many thanks to starryjuliet for swapping yarn with me so that I could make these.

Yarn: Valley Yarns Northampton in Light Grey and Pine
Needles: US Size 8/5.0 mm
Pattern: House Mittens by Alison Hansel from Charmed Knits

This was a good pattern, but you certainly don't need to purchase the book to make these. Just about any basic mitten pattern would do. I made these in the smallest size but slightly longer than suggested and with slightly different shaping because that is the way my hands are.

Also this pattern suggests that you knit these mittens fairly tightly. I was just reading
The Knitter's Almanac where EZ was talking about the fact that mittens really don't need to be knitted at a finer gauge than 5sts/inch for a worsted weight yarn. They air trapped in the slightly looser fabric is good for insulation. So this added to my need to work with the smaller number of stitches.

Yay for finishing stuff!

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Saturday, October 27, 2007


What a blah day. Due to it being rainy and overcast you get no photos today, although I did finish my HSS socks and worked on theMexican Jacket. I really want to get stuff off of the needles and hooks at the moment.

To add to my general blahs, Salvbard wasn't able to catch a flight home tonight as we had thought he would. Instead he plans on catching a flight tomorrow. Though I have to smile at the fact that he tried to cheer me up by letting me know that he had packed several pairs of hand-knit wool socks and his hat (the first item I ever knit him) so he has been nice and warm. Switzerland in particular he had been very cold. (Pictures here and here.)

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Wednesday, October 24, 2007

Advice Wanted

Okay can I have some opinions here? These are for my Ravenclaw Hogwarts Sock Swap pal. I started these off normally but the pooling was driving me crazy (see below, right). Basically if I decided to do nothing then one whole side of each leg would be darker than the other. So I introduced a second strand and alternated each round (see below, left).Now would I be crazy to go make an incision, rip back from to the cuff (a la sock surgery) and then do some voodoo to put it all back together again? Or since this is only 1.5"/4cm (unstretched) should I just shrug and call it a day? If it was at the toes I think I could leave it without a second thought. At the top of the sock however...

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Tuesday, October 23, 2007

Mole Day

Happy Mole Day! Go celebrate the 6.022×10^23 atoms in one mole. From high school to the present, I have always loved Mole Day. No major celebratory plans, but I did want to acknowledge today. Amadeo Avogadro was one clever man.

*ahem* Actual crafting content to continue tomorrow.

Monday, October 22, 2007

Space Kitty's Cowl

I wasn't going to post as I am still working away on my HSS socks, but when I saw Space Kitty's cowl I had to make a quick post. I had originally spun the yarn for her as part of a swap, though I almost couldn't bear to part with it. I am so glad I did let it go though, because she picked the perfect pattern for it. Go take a look! Doesn't it look great on her?

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Sunday, October 21, 2007

Quickie Cell Phone Case

Salvbard is flying out of the country again tonight, but this afternoon we were all out enjoying the unseasonably pleasant weather. The leaves seem to be changing all at once with the suddenly cool nights, and I fear they will be gone before you know it.

As a last minute request Salvbard asked if I could whip out a case for his phone, as the old leather one he had been using kept dropping his phone. So I sent him off to the stash, and then crocheted this while he was getting his hair cut.

Pattern: free form
Hook: I/5.50 mm
Yarn: Red Heart Ltd. Super Saver Solid 0633 Dark Sage
Supplier: Playtime

I just cast on the appropriate number of stitches up and then sc'ed around in a spiral until I got to where I wanted to work the flab back and forth. Then I added a belt loop, as is his preference. I hope it serves you well on your trip love!

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Saturday, October 20, 2007

Swiffer Cloth

Today we went with my mom to the Boston Vegetarian Food Festival. I picked up a copy of The Veg-Feasting Cookbook, while we were there. Lots of fun, but so many people!

In other earth-friendly news, I finally seamed up my swiffer cover I was working on. I am so glad that Stoneview posted her new Swiffer pad that she knit.

Zoom from Knitting Playground
Yarn: Sugar 'n Cream - color 00201
Needles: US8 (5.0mm)

I am happy to report that it works nicely. I will be trying the pattern Stoneview used next.


Friday, October 19, 2007

Baby Scarf and Mittens

Yes, I know last week that I was bemoaning the fact that I had too many projects going. But what did I do? I cast on another project. In my defense, at the Breast Cancer walk, I was horrified as a knitter to find that my niece didn't have any mittens. After all it has been unseasonably warm. So how was I to resist this face?

So I dug around in my stash to come up with these. Garter stitch isn't usually my favorite, but in this case the nice thick, squishy material it makes is perfect.

Yarn: Spunky Eclectic Super Sport in delphinium (less than 1 skein)
Fiber: 100% superwash merino
Needles: US Size 3s/3.25 mm
Pattern: b14-16 Hat, scarf and mittens in Alpaca by DROPS design
Size: mittens = 6-9 months, scarf = see modifications

Modifications: I didn't go with the needle size suggested for the pattern because I think the air space is important for the warmth of such a project. That air is insulative! Accordingly my gauge was a bit larger, so I for the scarf used the number of stitches suggested for the 0-3 month size, but the lengths for the 6-9.

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Tuesday, October 16, 2007

Making Strides

This weekend was the Boston Breast Cancer Walk, and I went with my sister and her best-friend. I am not really involved with the fund raising. For me this is more a memorial for the several family members that we have lost to breast cancer. Among them was my paternal grandmother, who died when my dad was just a teen and I never got to know.It was a beautiful day, but a little chilly next to the water on the Boston side of the Charles River. Handknits were essential.And on the knitting front I am making good progress on the Ravenclaw socks that I am working on for my HSS pal. Yay for knitting that travels well.

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Wednesday, October 10, 2007

What-ya-up-to Wednesday

I have been really suffering from a severe case of startisis. Hopefully with Salvbard returning from Europe this weekend, I will be able to get it under control soon. At the moment I have 3 knitting and 3 crochet projects that I am actively working on. That is crazy and totally unlike me! Here are the knitting ones:

I was reading over on Stoneview about her
new Swiffer pad that she knit
. Love it! I do own one for getting in areas that my Scooba can't reach, but the disposible pads make me cringe. These washable ones are such a good idea. I know I will be making the other pattern for the pads soon. All this one needs is a quick toss in the washing machine before I seam it up.

Also on the needles is a pair of Slytherin mittens. This pair is for myself, but I think I will be making a pair for one of my cousins, who is also an ardent Slytherin.

Finally I am working on the pair of socks for my Hogwarts Sock Swap pal. I have a bunch of the legs done, but I think I want to make them a little longer before starting the heel. I need to get a move on to finish these with plenty of time to mail them though.

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Sunday, October 07, 2007

Signs of Fall ATC

Does everyone else find their house full of leaves at this time of year. They are picked up on our walks home from school. This one for its amazing yellow color. That one for its mottled appearance. That last one for its funny shape.

Last year I played around with the idea of leaf line drawings. The basic idea was to put down a layer of paint. (I use acrylic.) Don't try to make it even, basically just slap it down. Then after the paint is dry use the texture of paint to pull out the shapes of leaves. Perhaps the curve of a denser area of paint reminds you of an oak leaf. The more you do it, the more shapes will leap out at you. And even if you don't see anything that calls out to you, the organic texture of the paint is great for giving dimensionality to a simple line drawing.

This year I tried something a little different.
Signs of Fall
Cardstock, acrylic paint, and Sharpie marker

For this Artist Trading Card, I started off with a fairly thick layer of orange, then a dabbed layer of brown, and finally a top splotchy layer of yellow. Each layer was allowed to dry before starting the next layer. And then after everything was dry I just started drawing with the sharpie. In the past I have worked with pencil first and then gone back over with ink, but I really like the organic feel of just letting the line fall as it will so this time I just went with ink.

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Friday, October 05, 2007

IgNobel Insanity

What an incredibly crazy week! The big build up was to last night, when went to the IgNobel award ceremony. So much fun! I even got some knitting done on my pal's Ravenclaw socks while we waiting for the show to start. Sixth time is the charm... or something.As an added bonus, Toscanini's Ice Cream in Central Square was giving away "IgNobel Vanilla" icecream today at 11 am.
Chiquita isn't allowed at school today, since she had a bit of a fever yesterday, so we went together. It was very good. Even if you don't want to consider the source of the vanilla flavoring. (The chemistry prize went to Mayu Yamamoto for her research on the presence of vanilin in cow dung.)

PS. If anybody plans on going to the lectures at MIT on Saturday let me know. We are hoping to be there too.
Oct 6, 1:00 PM
THE IG INFORMAL LECTURES: MIT Building 10, Room 250, 77