Monday, February 28, 2011

A Work in Progress

A Work In Progress

As much as I love making socks, I enjoy other knitting too. This next project combines the element of socks and sock making yet it's not a pair of socks. I joined a group on Ravelry that loves to use sock yarn to make projects but they don't knit socks. I have seen some really nice projects with sock yarn, especially shawls. I have made two shawls with sock yarn that I enjoyed, but there are other projects that interest me. I have a lot of sock yarn so finding other things besides socks will help to use up my stash. So the next project fits that bill to a T.

My friend Jen has done some designing and I have fallen in love with her design Lillyfield. On my list of things to do this year is to do two color knitting and use charts more. Lillyfield helps me with two of my three challenges for this year. I love the Lillyfield mitten because they are so well done and I love the fact that I can just change one color and use the cream for the backround and make the gloves for anyone (more than likely females).

Right now I am working on my Feb. socks so the mittens will get worked on between socks projects but I wanted to show what I have done so far. I have gotten one cuff done and are about to start the chart work. Here is the cuff...
Can you see the scalloped cuff? I love that added design element. Plus the cuff is lined. Yes, lined.
The pattern says to knit about 15 rows in the CC (contrasting color).
After add the MC (main color) and the knit more rows the that color, turn the CC (in this case it will be white) up inside the cuff and pick up stitches so that they are attached to the MC (in this case the blue/green). The only part of the mitten that are lined is the cuff.
Such a clever idea. It took me a few minutes to understand but when I finally got it, I was so pleased with the way it turned out.

I wanted to show you how the colors look in a caked skein. I am using this yarn from KnitPicks. The name of the colorway is Northwoods. I used Chroma's Bare colorway as the contrasting color. That's the color of the lining of the cuff.
Here is the outside of the caked skein. It's a single ply. I don't have a lot of yarn for socks that is single ply. I don't usually buy a lot of KnitPicks yarn but I have to say it's been a pleasure to knit with so far. I am using size 2.25mm needles or US 1s. I love how the tiny stitches give it such a refined look. So stayed tuned as I knit these mittens between all the other projects over the next few months. I think they will be a joy to knit and a feast for the eyes once they are done.

Tuesday, February 22, 2011

What to do?

I am beside myself about what to do with a pair of socks. I have no love for the yarn I used. I confess that I got caught up in all the excitement about the new product in 2007. I was a fairly new knitter when I bought this yarn. I don't think there were many of us at that time who knew too much about this yarn so we all jumped at the chance to try something new and trendy.

I just knew since this new product was a sock yarn, that I had to knit socks. I knit a very basic ribbed sock and wrote about them in this post. Then again in this post later. Now here I sit with some pretty pitiful socks that I used to love ready to toss them into the trash. This is what they look like now.

This hole is on the other foot that I didn't darn the first time in 2009.

Now there is a hole at the base of where I turned the heel. The heel was reinforced and the hole is right after the heel.

I have had the socks sitting here on my computer table for over a month just looking at them. Should I darn them? Should I unravel them and use the yarn for another project? Should I just throw them away. I have darned other socks but they have not developed another hole since. I have never unraveled a pair of socks to use for something else after having worn them for over three years. So having said all of that, you know I have NEVER thrown away a pair of socks. If this was any other yarn, I think I would unravel it and give it so someone who wanted the scraps, but I think this stuff is worthless as actual sock yarn. It has not been four years since I made these. November of this year be four years. So I am going to toss them. I am sad to throw away socks but I won't miss these. They have not worn well for me so they are going. I have another skein of this yarn but have decided to donate it to my Yarn For Supper group's grab bag. Maybe someone else will have better luck with them.

Monday, February 14, 2011

Lavender Love

I have a friend who has designed two pairs of socks. Her patterns are on Ravelry here. I was a bit nervous doing someone else's pattern that I hang with in a knitting group, but she promised me it was really easy. After a few moments of panic when my first pattern row did not come out, it went very smoothly. I love the pattern! It's great for a more advance beginner. I am past that but, still enjoyed the pattern so much that I am working on another pair with the same pattern. It's the kind of pattern you leave in your car or purse and knit on them when you have time to kill.

One of my knitting goals this year was to do cables in socks. This pattern has four little cables. There are two on the front and two on the back. Super duper easy. I did the standard 2X2 rib and then just took off from there.
I am still in love with the after thought heel. This pair was no exception. The patterning does not go on the back of the foot so it was extremely simple. For those who have never tried an after thought heel; it's like doing a toe for the heel. So I get my toes down to sixteen stitches then do the kitchner closing. The same was done to the heel. So I got a load of practice on the kitchner stitch.
Here is a closer look at the sock from the side. You can see the one cable that is on the front and one cable on the back. I tried on the sock and decided that it needed to be tightened up for around the ankle and foot. This sock was made for a larger size foot than a size 7/8. So I used a 2.75mm to start the leg. Then for the foot, heel and toe I changed the needles to 2.5mm. They fit like a glove.
I would love to tell you about the yarn, but I have had this yarn for a long time. I think I bought it when I was a "newish" knitter and didn't understand why you should save a ball band. So I have no idea what the stuff is but it's soft and springy. I really wish I knew what it was because I would buy more of it. All-in-all, these are a great knit. Thanks to my friend Ashley for coaching me through the first part of the pattern. They are totally lovely!

PS. How is my new camera doing with the pics? I am so glad to have a new one so that my knitting pictures look much better. Thanks to my sweetie!

Monday, February 07, 2011

Do It Right

Do It Right

You are all familiar with that annoying say, "Anything worth doing is worth doing right." I feel like that has been the bane of my existence since picking up knitting and crocheting back six years ago. I really thought that I could get away with a mistake here, there, and yonder and it wouldn't drive me mad. Ah... but it does. It's like a blinking beacon screaming my name every time I look at something with a mistake. I am a champion ripper. So I find myself at the cross roads of a decision.

My second pair of Spring Forward socks is that blinking beacon screaming my name. They have been screaming my name for a few weeks now. I have a drawer that is dedicated to my handmade wool socks. Every time I open that drawer to put on a nice well fitted pair of socks, those orange Spring Forward socks stare me down.

(Sorry for the poor quality of the photo. My camera was having a tantrum and will soon be going to a time out for good!)

One sock is longer in the foot than the other and I avoid dealing with them but not wearing them. How long can I avoid it? This winter, next winter or the winter after? They will languish in the drawer and I will have to look at them every time I open it.

I can't take it anymore so I am going to fix my big fat honking make. I have no idea how I got one larger than the other in the foot but I did. I foolishly thought I could handle it. I can't. Does that mean that I have sock mistake OCD?

So today I am doing my best to find the places where I wove in the ends from closing up the toe. Then there will be teeth gnashing and moaning as I rip row after row of reinforced toe to get to the rest of the foot. Ugh!

Finally found the place where the threads were woven in and the re-knitting process is taking place. To be honest, it's going on the third time I have knit this one toe. Yesterday while knitting with friends I picked the wrong size needle (2.50 mm) and just knit away. Then later I discovered a mistake and ripped out the toe again. Today I am home alone and figure that if I have total quiet, no phones ringing, and the dogs are sleeping, I can actually get these puppies done!

TADA...I got them done and they both fit the same way. I finally got a picture of them today. I am so glad I ripped them out and made them right. Now I can wear them all winter and not worry about them starring me down from the sock drawer.

Anything worth doing is worth doing right. Sometimes things are more right than others but these are right on target! So I am going to sit back and admire my handywork!

Wednesday, February 02, 2011

The Unspeakable

There is a running joke with myself and my knitting friend Cheryl who move to Arizona this past fall. Our joke was about how private our stashes are. A girl never kisses and tells and she never shows her stash. I posted on Facebook the other day that I was reorganizing my stash. It's sure not because I want to, I have to. A smaller closet in our master bedroom is going to be sheet rocked up and made into a solid wall for more space in our room. The nice part the whole process is, the closet that backs up to the master bedroom closet is in my office. That closet wall will be torn down and then that will extend the "office" closet. Since I am no longer in business, I have decided that the spare room will now be my hobby room and my stash will be stored there. So decluttering, reorganizing and rearranging is taking place a little bit everyday until it's done.

I had cleaned out the small master bedroom closet a few years ago and got rid of all my cross stitch, flower arranging, candle making and any other hobby I had stuff. So much stuff that I got eight large black plastic bags of stuff. I didn't feel a thing when I got rid of all of it. There is still much in the closet that needs to go so the second purging cometh.

All knitters are curious about another knitter's stash. While I am not going to show all of mine, I will show how I have been organizing it so it makes sense when I go to look for something for a project. Remember I am not buying any yarn this year and after looking at what I organized today, it might have be extended to two or three years...plain and simple-I have WAY more stuff than I need and realized.

My stash has been split between large bags of yarn for afghans and sweaters in the closet and the rest of the stuff in baskets on a bookcase and eight plastic drawers sitting out in the bedroom. So here is how I have started organizingI . I bought four new larger drawers yesterday and have been trying to get things off the shelves and into the drawers.

I bought these drawers at Big Lots (a discounted store like a Dollar Tree store), but I am sure that you can find these at Walmart, K-Mart, Target and the Container Store. I bought four of the largest size they had yesterday. In a few days will go back and look for four more. Yes, I did say four more. I have not even gotten into the closet stuff yet so I am going to need more drawers.

Okay here is how I start rearranging things.

I divided my sock yarns into two drawers. One drawer is sock yarn in skeins.
Sock yarn in hanks is the second drawer.
I needed two drawers for misc types of roving that needs to be spun. Drawer #1
Roving drawer #2. I still have five processed fleeces underneath the bed in rolling double sided sweater boxes. There are also two plastic tubs; one with crochet threads and one with acrylic yarn.
A cotton drawer.
Two drawers are dedicated to my hand spun. One is a drawer with hanks.
The second hand spun drawer is the stuff that is caked up already.
Another drawer is just lace weight.There are two drawers with just misc fun fir, ribbon and spooled yarns.
Misc. yarn drawer #2 . I have two more drawers left. One has nothing but my handmade wool socks. Since I don't want any winged creatures eating my socks I have put them in their own drawer with cedar blocks to project them year 'round. Then there is a drawer that has some acrylic yarn in it. That will be moved and condensed down after I get two or three more drawers. I want one drawer dedicated to acrylics that I want to keep, one for baby yarn and the rest to go for the bags of yarn for sweaters and afghans that are sitting in the closet right now with no where to go.

I still have these items to contend with...
This basket holds the two mitered square blankets that I have set aside for awhile.
There are plenty of things like this still in the closet. One bag has the last KnitPicks order of yarn for 2010. The basket is filled with Alpaca skeins to make my husband a scarf. I want this stuff in drawers so it's more organized and I know where everything is. I am not even going to show the closet. It's just too messy for public consumption. I will show you more drawers another time after I get them together.

So I did something I swore I would never do-show my stash. Well sort of show it. I will never drag it all our for display. It just takes too much time. Besides, I told Cheryl I would never show my stash and I am sticking to that...sorta.