Saturday, June 28, 2008

2nd Saturday of SOS08

Well, it's the 2nd Saturday of Summer of Socks and I spent most of the day knitting again. Lucky me!

I keep working on the Brigit sock, but don't seem to be making a lot of progress. It is becoming the never-ending sock! But, I still like the yarn and the pattern and when I finally finish this pair, I think I will like wearing the socks. Here's what it looks like as of tonight:
The Fall Herbs socks are going much faster. It's funny when I switch to these after working on the Brigit socks, the needles seem huge!! It's amazing the difference between US 1 and US3! As you can see, I've made almost as much progress on the first Fall Herbs sock as the Brigit sock:
I have also been thinking about whether I prefer metal or bamboo needles since I have been switching back and forth. I'd say there are advantages and disadvantages to each.

The bamboo needles cost more and seem more fragile, although I haven't broken one yet, thank goodness! One thing that I like about the bamboo needles is how they seem to warm in your hands as you use them. They are also probably lighter than the metal needles, although my metal sock needles aren't particularly heavy or anything.

I only have one set of bamboo needles. The rest of my sock dpns are metal (aluminum, I believe). The main advantage to metal needles, in my opinion, is price and durability. I bought most of my sets at the craft store with 40% off coupons and I don't have to worry about breaking the needles when I throw my projects back into the knitting bag. And, believe me, this crosses my mind EVERY time I'm carefully placing my Brigit sock on the bamboo needles back into the bag!!

I guess the other main difference between bamboo and metal is how the yarn slides along the needles. But, with these two projects I don't notice a major difference in this area. The stitches stay on when I want them to, and when I'm knitting the stitches slide along the needles just fine on both the metal and bamboo needles.

I wonder if I'll actually finish a pair to enter in the first bi-weekly SOS08 contest. I believe the deadline is 10pm on 7/4/08. Instead, I may be entering a couple pairs in the 2nd bi-weekly contest and will hopefully have a 3rd or 4th pair cast on by then.

Wednesday, June 25, 2008

SOS08 - cast on 2nd pair

No, I didn't finish my first pair, but I decided to cast on a 2nd pair last night for a little variety. The Brigit socks are getting a bit tedious. So, I thought I'd cast on some Panda Cotton in the "Fall Herbs" colorway on nice "big" US 3 needles and an easy "don't have to think" pattern. I chose the Slipped-Stitch Rib from Sensational Knitted Socks. This is the same pattern I used on my first Panda Cotton socks in the blue "Faded Jeans" colorway.

Here is what I knit last night with Fall Herbs:
The colors seem to be pooling a bit into diagonal stripes, but the slipped stitches in the body of the sock should help to break that up a bit. Also, the striping is much more noticeable in the picture than in person. I love the variety of colors in this yarn. There's different shades of green, a dark blue/teal color which I love, a dark purple/cranberry sort of color and a brown/rust kind of color. These socks should be an easy knit.

I have made some progress on the Brigit socks since my last blog post. I decided to continue the ribbing pattern on the top of the foot, but without all the cable twists. Just to give it a little interest as opposed to plain stockinette:
I still have a few more decrease rounds and then it will just be working the length of the foot. Oh yeah, and then there's a whole other sock to knit... Well, it is the Summer of Socks!!!

I did decide to assemble the cable purse on Monday night. It just needs a button to close the flap and the fabric lining:
I like the way it turned out. I will post another picture when it is completely finished.

Well, I need to update my projects on Ravelry and then off to knit some more!

Sunday, June 22, 2008

SOS08 Progress

Above is my progress on my first Summer of Socks (SOS08) sock. I can't believe how much progress I've made in just 2 days!! Being signed up for SOS08 is very motivating. I decided to leave out the last 18 rows of cable repeats in the leg, and therefore shorten the leg to about 4 inches, so I wouldn't risk running out of yarn. These tiny two stitch cables are a bit tricky but I was getting the hang of it towards the end. I'm trying to cable without a cable needle but with just one stitch and the tiny needles, I sometimes had a hard time getting the single stitch back on the needle! It was much easier when holding the stitch to the front as opposed to the back. But, I finally found that if I hold the fabric right below the stitch when I pull it off the needle, I'm able to get it back on much easier. It just takes too long to bother putting a single stitch onto a cable needle, so I'm really trying to do without the cable needle. I think the second sock will go smoother now that I figured out a good technique. I'm probably just going to knit the foot in plain stockinette instead of continuing the cable pattern down the foot.

I do like this pattern (Brigit) and I am happy to be working with Panda Cotton again instead of wool. I think the color of this yarn (Periwinkle) is really pretty too. I may try to knit some more tonight. I just finished the heel flap, so the next step will be turning the heel. I am hoping to finish this pair in time to enter in the first bi-weekly sock contest!

Now, I need to go on Ravelry to see how everyone else is doing!

Saturday, June 21, 2008

Summer of Socks 2008 has begun!!!!!

Hooray! Happy First Day of Summer! Summer of Socks is underway. This should be a fun summer. Since we couldn't cast on for Summer of Socks until after midnight last night, I spent yesterday evening getting non-SOS08 stuff done (laundry, grocery shopping, etc.)

On Thursday night, I finished all the knitting on the cabled purse, so I blocked that last night and it is now drying:
The cables seemed to flatten out a lot when wet. I hope they crisp back up when dry. This is the first time I've wet blocked cables. I also braided the 3 I-cords to form the handle, but forgot to take a picture of that. You'll see it on the completed purse.

Since I had a sink full of Soak I decided to also hand wash some socks while I was soaking the cabled purse. They are drying now as well:

After that was done, I needed a quick knitting project to get me through the last few hours before SOS08 and I came across my "Loopy's Red Sock Kit" from The Loopy Ewe (one of their awesome free gifts!). I figured I could crank out a mini sock in an evening. I cast on at 8:30 and finished it at 11:30! (Took a half hour break to take our dog for a walk since it was so nice out last night) So, 2-1/2 hours of knitting time produced this:

Loopy immediately claimed it for his own and asked when he'd have a 2nd sock to go with it:

I thought about staying up until midnight to cast on my first sock, but was tired by then and decided to start fresh in the morning. I woke up bright and early and cast on the Brigit pattern in Periwinkle Panda Cotton:

I think this will be a fun and challenging (enough to keep it interesting) pattern to knit. My only concern is that I think I may need an extra skein of yarn to complete.

Well, enough blogging... time to resume knitting my sock! Have a Happy Summer everyone!!!

Wednesday, June 18, 2008

Cabled purse progress

Above is the current status of my cabled purse project. I am hoping to finish this before Saturday - the official start to the Summer of Socks!! I have about 4 more inches to go on the cabling body of the purse, but last night I decided to start on the I-cord since I bought my US 6 dpns yesterday. As you can see, I finished one I-cord (folded in half at the top of the photo) and started a 2nd last night. I need to complete 3 to form the braided purse strap.

My Knitting Answer Book is in the photo because I used this to refresh my memory on cabling without a cable needle. I have been using this method and it's been working well for me. I always keep this book by my side when I'm knitting and, as you can see, I have several green sticky notes marking pages I refer to more than once. It's a great resource!!

If you are trying to envision what this purse will look like when complete, I took a photo of the picture on the pattern:
I still need to look for the perfect button to complete it. I will check my button stash first, but I will probably have to go shopping for one.

Here's a close-up of the cables:
This has been a really fun pattern to knit. I love small projects. I have yet to knit a full-size sweater or afghan. That is why I love knitting socks. Even though it's a lot of stitches, there's no assembly or piece-work and I don't even block mine, I just wear them. Just weave in two ends and you're done! This purse shouldn't be too hard to assemble. The pattern does call for a fabric lining so that will be a first for me! But, if I plan on using the purse (which I'd like to!), it will need a lining because the stitches are a bit loose (at least I think they'd loosen up when I put stuff in the purse). I, of course, didn't check my gauge, I just used the recommended needles and cast on. This shouldn't be a problem except that I may have to adjust the size of the fabric piece used for the lining if my gauge ends up off from the pattern. Only time will tell!

Well, I think I will go knit more of this project now since I only have 3 evenings to complete it!

Saturday, June 14, 2008

Happy WWKIP Day!

Today is WWKIP Day.

I don't think I'll be participating this year. It was way too hot to knit outside and I think I'm just going to stay in the A/C, rather than go anywhere to knit.

But, if you see any knitters out and about today, be sure and say hi! And if you're participating in WWKIP Day - have fun!

If you're near Toronto, be sure to check out the yarn harlot's birthday bash today! What are the odds that her 40th birthday landed on WWKIP Day? Lucky knitter!!

Friday, June 13, 2008

Sock blockers!

My sock blockers arrived from The Loopy Ewe today! I got the medium size and I love them. I no longer have to take pictures of my feet!

Here's my first pair of Panda Cotton socks (colorway: faded jeans) on the blockers:
These socks began my sock knitting obsession!

I also decided to buy my first set of stitch markers because I really liked this Loopy Ewe set from Zephyr:
I displayed them on one of my sock blockers and the flash glared a bit, sorry! They came in the cute little tin. You can see better pictures and a description of them here.

In other knitting news, I finished the doily style dishcloth and am really happy with how it turned out:
I love the colors in that yarn! The colorway is "Butter Cream Ombre" by Lily Sugar'n Cream. Pretty!!

And, I am using one of my knitting bags while working on my latest project:
It's the "Flapper Purse" from the 6/6/08 page of the knitting calendar I have at work. It's a rectangle-shaped small purse with 3 cables running along it and the top flaps over, thus the name "flapper purse".

So far, I have knit this much:
If I dig out my notes on cabling without a cable needle, I think this will start to go faster. I used that method when knitting the Irish Hiking scarf and really liked it.

I just had to take pictures of some of my other knit socks on the sock blockers:

Maizy socks:

Sable Panda Cotton socks:
Painted Daisies Wick socks:
Don't forget - tomorrow is WWKIP day! World Wide Knit in Public Day!!!!!!

Wednesday, June 11, 2008

A break from socks

I thought I'd take a little break from socks and knit something different, so Monday night, I cast on a "doily style dishcloth":
I worked on it some more last night and it is almost finished. Just 3 more rounds to go. I love this pattern. I think it appeals to the logical, mathematical part of my brain. But then it turns out so pretty! The funny thing is, the first time I ever knit this pattern I was using the pattern printed on the yarn label, and I didn't even know what it was going to look like when it was done. I was shocked at how pretty it was when I cast off!

I think my next project will be a small purse with cables that was on my knitting calendar last week. I fell in love with the pattern and even ordered the recommended yarn and it arrived today:
It is Frog Tree Pima Silk - 85% Pima Cotton; 15% Silk

After this, I should be ready to begin Summer of Socks!! Only 10 days away now!

Tuesday, June 10, 2008

Quick post of finished knitting bags

I got some drawstring cord at A.C. Moore yesterday and finished up my little knitting bags.

I'm really happy with the way they turned out!

Sunday, June 8, 2008

One down, one to go!

The first monkey sock is FINALLY complete! I don't know why this sock took me so long. So many others on Ravelry or blogs say that the Monkey pattern is a super-quick knit for them. It did work up pretty fast the first time I started it, but then I had to rip it out and re-start it on smaller needles. I think that's what stalled me. I set it aside for a couple months and worked on other projects. But, even when I picked it back up and worked on it exclusively, it still took me about 2 and a half weeks to finish it! And, I knit the no-purl version which is supposed to be even faster! (I guess it doesn't help that I have also been doing a lot of planning, swatching and practice cast-ons for the Summer of Socks!)

The sock is a great fit though, so I am glad I knit it on the size 0 dpns:
I tried taking some close-up pictures to show off the pattern better:

Also, I keep forgetting to mention it, but you can always click on any of the pictures in my blog to see a larger version. (Or, as the yarn harlot likes to say "click to embiggen".)

So, now I have to decide... do I cast on for the 2nd Monkey sock and set a goal of finishing it by June 20th (pre-Summer of Socks)??? That would give me just under 2 weeks if I start today, which is entirely possible. Or, will I just leave the single sock to sit until after Summer of Socks (hello, alliteration!!).

Whatever I do, I'll keep you posted! I just may have to pick up a non-sock project, so that I can start fresh with socks on June 21st! Maybe, I'll even crochet something!! Who knows!

Saturday, June 7, 2008

That's not knitting!

Last night, I got out my boxes of fabric stash for a project. These are the fabrics I chose:
This morning, I got out my sewing machine and started assembling:
What could possibly be more important than knitting? More important than finishing my monkey sock?

Well, making some extra knitting bags for the Summer of Socks, of course!
Aren't they cute? The only thing missing is the drawstrings, because I need to buy some nylon cord. I'm thinking either red or navy blue!

I, of course, can't take credit for the design of these. I used the AWESOME drawstring bag tutorial from yarnmonster's blog. This tutorial was really easy to follow and I am so happy with how the bags turned out. And, I haven't sewed anything in probably a year! And only a few things in the past 5 years or so! I just don't sew much anymore (since I'm obsessed with knitting!) but I'm glad I have my sewing machine and fabric stash for instances like this. It was a fun Saturday morning project! The first bag took me about an hour, as I kept referring to the directions for each step. By the second bag, I pretty much knew what to do and it took my only about a half hour!.(I had cut all the fabric pieces last night, so this morning was only sewing.)

This tutorial makes a great little bag! The bags are reversible because you make two identical pouches, line them up and then turn it inside out. It also has this brilliant, "fully lined drawstring channel", which I never would have come up with on my own, but it is so easy to do, and by following her instructions it just works like magic! I will definitely be making some more of these bags. What a great excuse to use up some of my fun fabric stash that has been sitting in my closet.

I made the smaller version of the bag, but she also gives dimensions to make a slightly larger version. And, I'm sure if you did a little math, you could adjust it to make a bag of any size!

So, as soon as I buy some nylon cord (or something suitable), these 2 bags are ready for me to throw some sock projects into! Woo-hoo!

I even used my little crochet donut pincushion because I needed to pin the fabric for a few steps:
This was another fun project I did a year or so ago and it is really handy! The pins fit in it perfectly and I love how the pins look like sprinkles.

Loopy, what are you doing in there???
Loopy thought these bags might make some cozy little places for him to hide:
Almost, Loopy, but your little red shirt gives you away!!

Instead, Loopy decided to model how the bag might look when it is cinched with a drawstring:
And, he also wanted to point out how the bags look reversed:
Thanks, Loopy!

Wednesday, June 4, 2008

Figure-Eight Toe

I completed my toe section practice (pictured above) using the "figure-eight" method. I actually ripped out the bit I had done the other day and re-knit from scratch. This method is pretty easy to follow. The end of my toe, where the figure 8 was done, did end up very loose though. I pulled the yarns through to the wrong side to tighten it up and it now looks like this on the inside:
I definitely need to practice this method again to see if I can improve. Those loops at the top are all the extra yarn I had to pull in. I also don't think I was doing the M1 (make 1) increases correctly on the first several rounds because I ended up with pretty big holes where the increases were:
Can you see them along the top? You can kind of tell, that as I got closer to where the needles are, I was doing the increases differently and was able to tighten it up and not have the big holes appearing.

Yeah, I definitely need to practice this again, but this was just a learning experience! Next up, Easy Toe!! I haven't started that one yet, but it seems to be a combination of the first two methods, kind of the best of both worlds. (Suddenly, I am reminded of that quote from Candide that I read in French class in high school - I had to google it! "All is for the best in the best of all possible worlds") OK, back to knitting...

In other knitting news, I did continue knitting the monkey sock last night! On US zero needles, this is becoming the never-ending sock. But, I am making progress. I tried it on for the first time, and I can definitely see the advantages to wool socks. It does make for a nice fit and really shows off the stitch detail:
So, round and round I go as I continue down the foot. I don't know if I'll finish the pair prior to Summer of Socks, but I definitely want to finish this sock!! The second one may have to wait until fall.

Monday, June 2, 2008

Loopy's Summer Vacation

Loopy is vacationing out on the deck this summer so he asked me to make him a hammock. I decided to crochet it since I figured this would be quicker than knitting and look more hammock-like.

Of course, it had to be red!! I used Lion Brand Microspun that I had in my stash and just did a pretty simple filet crochet grid. You could use any yarn. I aimed for a hammock that was approximately 5" X 10" so that it would be Loopy-size. It probably could even be a couple inches wider than 5" to fit better. I did jot down some notes in case anyone wanted to make one.

I used a G crochet hook and started by making a chain of 28. Then double-crochet into the 6th chain from the end. Chain 2, skip two stitches and double-crochet into the next stitch. Continue [ch 2, sk 2, dc] until you get to the end. Then chain 5, turn, skip 2, dc in next dc, and [ch 2, sk 2, dc] to end. Make sure you get to the very end to keep it rectangle shape instead of decreasing. It's always a bit tricky to get that last double-crochet into the right spot.

You could also knit a rectangle of the same dimensions or even use a lace pattern to make it a little more airy.

If you make your own Loopy hammock, be sure to let me know! I'd love to see it!
For anyone who is not familiar with The Loopy Ewe and Sheri's blog, she is having a summer photo contest where you can submit pictures of Loopy on summer vacation.

Sunday, June 1, 2008

Toe-up Socks

Once again, I am TRYING to figure out how to knit toe-up socks. I have always knit my socks cuff-down on double-pointed needles and I really like that method. But, I keep finding toe-up patterns that I want to try. I have tried teaching myself toe-up cast-ons before with no luck.

Today, I sat down with the Tiptop toes article from and once again attempted to learn to knit from the toe up. This is the first time I had tried using this particular article. It was written by Wendy D. Johnson and I enjoy reading her blog Wendy Knits. Most of her sock patterns are written as toe-up and that is one of the reasons I'd like to learn this. She writes some great sock patterns!!

First up was the Short Row Toe. This is a method of crocheting a chain with waste yarn and then knitting into to it to begin. Then you use short rows and a "wrap and turn" method of slipping stitches to form the toe. I used the Maizy yarn I had bought to knit mini items since it's not enough for a pair of socks. (You may remember my purple and green tiny snail from a prior post.) I crocheted a chain with the purple yarn and then knit into it with the green yarn. The directions were clear and easy to follow and I believe I knit a successful toe - hooray!

Side view:

And looking down at the end of the toe:
The only part I had trouble with was picking up the wraps and knitting them with the stitch. I didn't really understand why I was picking up the wrap and it was really tricky and I'm not sure if I was doing it correctly. But, the toe looks ok to me, so I think whatever I was doing worked - even if it wasn't exactly correct. It was especially fiddly to me when I got to the stitches that were double-wrapped and I was supposed to pick up both wraps.

Well, for practice purposes, I was pleased with my progress. This is the first time I have completed a toe-up toe section! I will probably end up just ripping this out since I'm not going to knit an entire sock, which is why I wanted photographic evidence!!

Next up in the article was the Figure-Eight Toe. In this method you just loop the yarn around two needles in a figure-eight and then start knitting into it. (It's not quite as easy as it sounds.) I had seen this method once on an episode of Knitty Gritty but I had never tried it successfully myself.

Here is what I have managed so far:
Yeah, it's not much yet. That is only the figure 8, then knitting across both needles twice, then knitting the first round which moves the stitches from 2 to 4 needles. You can't really tell from the picture, but the stitches are pretty messy in the middle right now. Supposedly you can tighten them up at some point after knitting a couple rounds. I also was not sure about the instructions that tell you that at the beginning, half your stitches are twisted and you need to knit into the back loop to correct them. I can never tell from looking at them if my stitches are twisted, so I just guessed and I'm not sure if I guessed right or wrong. I'll have to keep knitting to see how this toe progresses. But, if I can get the hang of it, I think I may like the figure-8 method better than the short-row method. I don't mind short rows, but I'm not crazy about picking up those wraps!!

The final method described in the article is the Easy Toe. I'm looking forward to this one and hope that it really is easy!!