My current work in progress:

1. Ashburn, designed by Melanie Berg, knit from Woolfolk Tynd in colorways 6, 7, and 8 on a 4 mm (U.S. size 6) needle.
2. Myriad stealth projects.

Sock It To Me

Here they are: the completed Spanish Moss socks.

socks041406 Sock It To Me

About socks, Hillary commented:
I just finished my first toe up sock and I’m having a hard time trying to decide what sock to do next. Have you ever tried to convert a cuff down pattern to a toe up one? Does it work? There are lots of really cute cuff down patterns but toe up is more logical and way easier to try on as you go to get the right fit.

I haven’t really, mainly because most of the socks I knit are pretty plain. But there’s no reason why you couldn’t.

Now, if you were using an obviously “one-way” pattern, you’d have to decide if you liked it up-side down. Otherwise, you’d have to turn the pattern the other way round to knit!

I, of course, started another sock.

sock041606 Sock It To Me

Teddy is modelling a toe-up sock made from a prototype sock yarn that I am test-driving. It’s 75% alpaca/25% nylon and I am knitting it at 8 stitches to the inch using my ubiquitous size 0 (2mm) needles.

This makes a lovely fine fabric that is soft, silky, and warm.I think these will be wonderful winter socks, lightweight but nice and warm. I’m betting I’ll want to handwash these socks, even with the nylon content.

sock041606a Sock It To Me

Kerry

Well, yes, I did make a bit of progress on Kerry. I finished the first sleeve.

kerry041606 Sock It To Me

I was hoping to be further along, but I did very little knitting on Saturday. It was one of those days. I woke up feeling drained and blah. When I tried to knit, it was like I was trying to throw a rope over a tree branch with every stitch I formed. Needless to say, I did not get too far.

But this morning? Woke up feeling fine, so normal knitting could commence.

teddy041606 Sock It To Me

Lucy

Lucy is demonstrating the proper position for “long kitty.”

lucy041606 Sock It To Me

I Heart Ann and Kay

annandkay041306 I Heart Ann and Kay

I stayed up way past my bedtime last night but it was totally worth it.

Twas a long day yesterday. I left the office at noon for damage control at the Aveda spa. But I had the foresight to buy my copy of Mason-Dixon Knitting before my appointment.

mdkcover I Heart Ann and Kay

Okay, I hate how long it takes to get one’s hair colored, cut, and styled.* My appointment took three hours. But yesterday was the most delightful three-hour hair appointment I have ever had. And I have Ann and Kay to thank for that.

I read Mason-Dixon Knitting from cover to cover and those three hours just flew by. I loved reading about how these ladies met online and how their online connection blossomed into a real-life friendship. (Psst! Hey, L-B — does that sound familiar?) And the supporting cast were people I know! Ooh, there’s Polly! And Emma! And Becky! And Rachel, I saw you in Chapter 6! Ooh! Ooh!

This book is like a plate of wonderful cookies — but with no calories. An assortment of yummy treats, all different, all special, all beautiful, and all very, very tasty. The photography is beautiful and the patterns are alluring and compelling. How compelling? I now want to knit a cotton bathmat. And I can’t for the life of me imagine why that never occurred to me before. Just sayin’.

Meeting Ann and Kay at their book signing at Knit Happens was the icing on the cookies. Two nicer, friendlier, more charming women you could never hope to meet. I want to be their best friend and I’m betting I’m not the only one who was there who felt that way.

Speaking of friends you haven’t met yet, Jacinta was here visiting from London! I was so happy to finally meet her in person!

So here I am with my new best friends: Ann, Kay, and Jacinta.

group041306 I Heart Ann and Kay

Um . . . Knitting Progress?

I did get a fair amount done on my second sock yesterday.

sock041306 I Heart Ann and Kay

But I confess that I have not touched Kerry in a couple of days. And tonight I have the joy that is laundry to look forward to.

But I’ll make some progress over the weekend.

kerry041306 I Heart Ann and Kay

Lucy

lucy041306 I Heart Ann and Kay

Lucy was very pleased that so many people missed her and asked about her. I got home late yesterday and she was all excited and needy, and was not in the mood to be photographed. That is all.

*Wanna see the hair? Click here for a pop-up!

Mmmmmm . . . Picot!

sock041206 Mmmmmm . . . Picot!

I did not knit on Kerry at all last night. Instead, I finished the first of the Spanish Moss socks:

sock041206a Mmmmmm . . . Picot!

Yes, my foot is up on the radiator at work. I’m so glad no one walked in my office while I was taking these photos. Kinda hard to explain to a non-knitter, you know?

sock041206b Mmmmmm . . . Picot!

I decided to try a picot edge for the top of these socks. I love it. The sock stays up and fits very nicely. What I did — when the sock was long enough for my liking, I worked k2tog, yo around, then worked 6 rounds (1/2 inch) plain to make the facing. I used the Stretchy Sewn Bind-off, then carefully sewed the facing to the inside of the sock.

As easy as pie.

So. No knitting on Kerry tonight, either. Tonight was Mason-Dixon Knitting!

But I’ll talk about that tomorrow, otherwise I’ll be up past my bedtime tonight. And we don’t want that.

Yesterday’s Booze Photo

A couple of you commented that the bottles in the photo looked pretty full.

Well, I suppose I should tell you that the “everyday” booze lives on the kitchen counter. You know. For easy access.

Dave asked:
Do you colour coordinate what you drink with what you’re knitting?

Hey, what a great idea! Must look into that . . .

Stacy commented that she’d love to see my Sugar ‘n Cream sweater. Yeah, so would I. I wonder what happened to it?

Kelly in New Mexico asked:
How long have you knitted straight without stopping except for a break?

Good question — I haven’t really thought about it. Maybe 2 or 3 hours?

Favorite Movies

The King of All Remote Controls has a list of his favorite movies on his blog and queries “What are your favorite movies?”

I set myself a limit of 10. Subject to change at my whim, here is my shortlist list of movies I can watch over and over:

Brief Encounter
This Happy Breed
Murder on Monday (sometimes called Home at Seven in the U.S.)
Black Narcissus
Dial “M” for Murder
Casablanca
Rear Window
Mrs. Miniver
Key Largo
Monty Python and the Holy Grail

I Have a Little Problem

It all started last week when I heard about a contest to post a photo of the stuff you keep in the cabinet over your fridge. (Contest ended on April 10, btw. Yes, I am slow in mentioning it.) The prize was a skein of Socks That Rock so I figgered a chance at that was worth opening up that cabinet, right?

Small problem. This is what is on top of my fridge, blocking access to the cabinet.

booze041106 I Have a Little Problem

Do you think this is indicative of a larger problem? Wait . . . don’t answer that.

But I’m not the only one with a problem. First thing this morning when I went to the snack bar to purchase Diet Coke and bottled water, there was a man in line in front of me buying a bottle of Starbucks Frappuccino and a Cadbury’s Caramel Egg. I almost said “Hey, breakfast of champions, huh?” but at the last minute decided that a total stranger might not appreciate my making judgmental comments about his breakfast.

Yeah, I’m tactful like that.

Sockie Love

Here is the new love of my life, basking on my office radiator in the morning sunlight.

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In the interests of full disclosure, I will admit that last night I stopped knitting on Kerry at 7:30 pm and turned the heel of this sock instead.

See the little gold colored pin near the top of the sock? That is my high-tech measuring device.

Although I claim to be a process knitter, I also like to see progress. I move the pin before each block of sock-knitting time so I can see the progress I’ve made. Hey, it makes me happy.

sock041106a I Have a Little Problem

Some sock-related questions . . .

Nancy J asked:
I was wondering if you wear your handknit socks all year, or just in the cooler seasons?

Just in the cooler seasons – it’s too hot and humid in the Washington DC area in the summer for wool socks.

And that segues nicely into the next question:

Leisel asked:
… have you ever knit cotton socks? I have some lovely cotton yarn I was planning on using for socks… I knit a swatch, measured it, and was getting 8 stitches to the inch, and the overall width of the tube seemed perfect. Then I tried it on, and it was HUGE. I let it relax and remeasured, and it was 7 stitches to the inch. I was hoping you might have tips on knitting socks out of cotton… do I just need knit at a smaller gauge, or is this doomed not to work out?

And Debi responded:
As an aside to Leisel, living in Florida I knit lots of cotton/cotton blend socks. They do not have the memory wool does so I find you need a nice firm rib of some sort to give the pattern memory since the fiber has little. Coincidentally, I just designed a simple lacy rib for Mountain Colors Bearfoot (which has a high mohair content thus less memory) which I also tested in a Cotton Fine. It’s a gift for a friend with a birthday in early May and once I send the gift I’ll post the free pattern on my blog. It’s a nice rib that holds it shape even in cotton so if you can hold out a few weeks I have just the pattern icon smile I Have a Little Problem

Debi, I’ll look forward to seeing your pattern! The only cotton socks I’ve knitted were from Regia — and those were a cotton/wool blend. And they didn’t have a whole lot of memory, as I recall.

April asked:
I’m nearing the end of my very first toe up sock, and was wondering about this “sewn cast off.” Where can I find the directions? Any hints about keeping it loose enough to get on my foot – and snug enough to not fall off?

The instructions for the stretchy sewn cast-off can be found here. It’s the Elizabeth Zimmermann Sewn Cast-off.

When I use this (and I do for pretty much all my socks) I make an effort to keep it as loose as possible — but not so loose that you have big obvious loops of yarn at the top of your cast-off. It just takes a little practice. Keep stretching the top out as you sew to make sure that you are leaving enough slack in the yarn as you thread it through the stitches so that the sock can stretch out to its maximum.

And about cotton Arans, Carol commented:
Your cotton aran looks great!!! Do you find that aran patterns in cotton help prevent the dreaded Grow-itis that cotton sweaters are prone to after repeated wearing? I’ve almost sworn off 100% cotton because, even knitted on smaller needles with patterns like seed stitch, they become misshapen before the first summer ends. I’ve just get more mileage than that for all my work!!

Debi responded (in the same comment quoted from above):
ASC is one of my favorite yarns and yes, tho it does stretch out a bit with wear, a quick wash and the microfiber in it bounces it right back into shape.

Debi is correct — All Seasons Cotton bounces back nicely, due to the microfiber content.

In general, I think the more texture you put in a cotton knit, the better it will hold its shape. Eons ago I made a sweater that consisted of an all-over twisted rib pattern (why, yes, I am insane — thanks for asking). I knit it in 100% cotton and it kept its shape beautifully.

Even more eons ago, I knit a “sampler” type sweater out of Sugar & Cream yarn. Laugh if you like, but that yarn was fabulous! The sweater was a combination of cables, texture and openwork and was actually quite pretty. It did grow a bit after wearing it, but I’d throw it in the washer and dryer and it obediently went back to it’s original size.

And Jasmine asked:
What is the chance that you might bring Kerry into KH and I could sneak it away from you while you were knitting and chatting?

Not on your life, cupcake. icon wink I Have a Little Problem

Tomorrow Night

I’ll either be late or absent from blogging, because I have an important date to meet these lovely ladies and get them to sign my copy of their book. Can’t hardly wait!

Lucy Sez

lucy041106 I Have a Little Problem

Does this mean my dinner will be late? Huh?

Mindless Monday

First order of business: a sky shot for Sandy.

sky041006 Mindless Monday

And here is the sock-in-progress, relaxing on my laptop at home after the evening commute.

sock041006 Mindless Monday

It relaxed on my desk all day at work too, and I glanced at it yearningly from time to time.

This yarn, Cherry Tree Hill Supersock, just screams “Knit me!” I started the sock over the weekend so I’d have a toe all done so today’s commuter knitting would be completely mindless. Always a good thing for a Monday, I think.

It was all I could do not to cast aside the Cotton Aran and just knit on the sock all weekend. Apart from the jewel-like quality of the colors, the yarn just feels wonderful. As I said yesterday, it reminds me of the Socks That Rock yarn, which I love. It’s a little bit heavier than Lorna’s Laces and has a nice squishy sproingy feel to it.

Debi asked me what gauge I’m getting with my 2mm needles. Debi says she gets 8.5 stitches to the inch using a 2.5mm Addi and she doesn’t think she knits tight.

And I’m getting exactly 8 stitches to the inch on the 2mm rosewood. And I don’t think I knit loose. Heh!

Variety. It is the spice of life, no?

Speaking of the All Seasons Cotton Aran

I’m getting tired of calling this the “All Seasons Cotton Aran.” So I’ve named it “Kerry.” Alert the media.

I was plugging away on it over the weekend. I finished the front yesterday afternoon and attached the front to the back using a three-needle bind-off.

aran041006 Mindless Monday

Did the neckband, and picked up stitches along the side to knit the sleeve from the top down.

aran041006a Mindless Monday

I really like doing sleeves this way, particularly with a yarn that I think is going to look less than great seamed. All Seasons Cotton is an aran weight yarn and does not have a whole lot of give. The drop-shoulder sleeve seam would look very bulky, I think. Picking up and knitting down gives a much smoother line.

Speaking of Arans

Laurie asked:
When a gauge calls for “23 sts = 4 inches in chart pattern”, and there’s more than 1 chart, what do you swatch?

Not telling you which chart — that’s just plain mean!

I’d probably do the same thing you are doing — start a sleeve. icon smile Mindless Monday

Lucy is on walkabout.

lucy041006 Mindless Monday