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.

Picot This

I got some great comments with regard to my whining about how to finish picot edges on toe-up socks.

Vanessa pointed me to this entry on her blog, where she documents kitchenering her picot edges down.

And Elaine in Kentucky emailed me to tell me that she crochets her facings down. She said:

I kind of chain the live stitches through the portion of the garment that you’d normally sew the band to. It turns out nice and stretchy and very neat on the inside, and since you’re not binding off you’re not adding any more bulk than with the usual method. I haven’t actually done this with socks so I can’t promise that it would be stretchy enough for them, but I do it all the time on collars, cuffs, bands, etc…. If you had to, you could crochet an extra chain between live stitches for extra stretch.

These are both excellent suggestions! And from the comments, more good ideas. Hillary commented:
I just made a Rick-Rack bag and it required creating a welt by knitting the current row to one 5 rows earlier.(does that make sense?) It seems like that ought to work for creating a picot edge on a toe up sock too. Just a thought.

Why, yes, that does make sense! And I did that very technique when I made the Nantasket Basket last year. And that’s sort of what was swimming around in the back of my mind when I was thinking that I ought to be able to knit the stitches down. My only issue with doing this on a sock is that I think it would be hard (hard for me, anyhow) to execute this effectively on such teeny-tiny stitches, particularly with this dark-colored yarn.

Anne commented:
I like to knit down my hems to the row before the picot edge starts, rather than sew them. i pick up stitches from that row through the back loops and knit them together with the ones on the needle, binding off at the same time. if needed, a life line running through the row to be picked up might help keep it all straight.

Okay, now, this helps solidify the idea in my head — pick up the stitches first and then knit them together — that might be easier than picking them up one at a time. And a lifeline is a great idea.

So now I’m thinking about decorative cast-offs that might work for socks. Hmmmmmmm . . . can you hear the wheels turning around in my head? Must check out the cast-offs in this book.

Anyhow. I’m making progress on the second sock.

sock050906 Picot This

Extreme close-up of the heel!

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And . . . I’m knitting along on Deirdre.

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Lucy is preening herself, for she believes that a lady should always be well-groomed.

lucy050906 Picot This

Manic Monday

Just another manic Monday, made more so by virtue of my not having been in the office since last Thursday at noon.

Those three and one-half days sure zipped by in a heartbeat.

I am feeling some bloggy malaise, so I will resort to answering questions from the comments. Besides which, they are questions which ought to be answered!

Snow (heal quickly, Snow!) asked:

What’s your method of doing a picot edge on a toe-up sock? I always do picot from the top down. Are you doing the same thing, but sewing down the facing half rather than k2tog-ing like you do in top down?

Yup.

That’s what I’m doing. I do the picot (k2tog, yo around), then knit 4 rounds plain. Then I do a stretchy sewn cast-off, then turn the facing to the inside and sew it down loosely. That last bit of sewing the facing down is sort of a PITA, but it does work, and the socks come out looking quite nice. Somewhere in my cluttered brain I sort of think that there ought to be some sort of way to knit the facing down at the end, but I haven’t really thought that through and besides, I’m too lazy to try to actually figure it out.

sock050806 Manic Monday

Leslie asked:
Beautiful mahogany socks. I love the picot edge. Because of you (dammit), I ordered the same colorways and am now on a waiting list. Which is okay, because I’ve never knit a sock in my life and am starting my first pair with your Toe-Up pattern. I’d like to use the Figure 8 cast on method. Could you tell me where I could find instructions on that?

Happy to enable you into a purchase, Leslie. Hee hee hee!

There are instructions for doing a figure 8 cast-on in this article from Knitty a few years back.

Laura asked in the comments a couple of days ago if I was doing another Summer of Lace this year. Hmmmmmm, I dunno. At the moment, lace is not calling to me. I have seen mention on some blogs of something called the Amazing Lace, or something like that, though. so clearly someone is knitting lace this summer!

Tiger Socks, Revisited

Another photo of the tiger socks I completed last week, being modeled by the KOARC.

tigersocks050606 Manic Monday

Lefthanded Knitting

I’ve gotten a couple of comments recently about the fact that I am lefthanded — as evidenced by a photo of me signing a book at MDS&W. Yes, I am a lefty, but I do not knit lefthanded — I knit from left needle to right needle.

Not Just Bloggy Malaise, But Knitting Malaise Too

Sadly. I had lots of knitting time yesterday but actually did very little knitting. I have, however, finished Deirdre’s back.

deirdre050806a Manic Monday

And I have made a start on the front.

deirdre050806 Manic Monday

But, I am bored with it, so I’m just plodding along.

Perhaps when they turn the a/c on in my condo building later this week, my knitting mojo will be back in full force.

Lucy is looking forward to the a/c as well. It can’t be comfy wearing a fur coat when the weather’s warm. Fortunately it hasn’t been too hot here, and I do have fans running, but I don’t think Her Highness likes having her fur ruffled by fans.

Here she is, doing her impression of the Sphinx, in front of an 8-pack of paper towels.

lucy050806 Manic Monday

Of Socks and Stupidity and Stash!

Because of some extended knitting time on Saturday, in the car on the way to MDS&W (because Phyl was nice enough to drive) and while I was hanging out with other knitters at the festival, I made some excellent progress on the first Mahogany sock. And I finished it Saturday evening.

sock050706 Of Socks and Stupidity and Stash!

Plain stockinette, with a picot edging at the top. I love it. So, I immediately started the second sock.

I was almost halfway through the shortrow toe before I realized that I had started the toe with 3 stitches too many — 37 instead of 34. Doh! So rip I did, and managed a toe with the right number of stitches this morning. I’m saving it for commuter knitting this week.

So. That’s the socks and stupidity covered. Time for the stash.

I did virtually no shopping yesterday, but I did pick up a few things at the Spirit Trail booth:

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Sock yarn in three beautiful colorways!

And this glorious roving, a merino/mohair blend:

roving050706 Of Socks and Stupidity and Stash!

The colorway is very similar to my Mahogany sock, is it not?

roving050706a Of Socks and Stupidity and Stash!

There’s been more stash enhancing in the past few days chez Wendyknits . . .

L-B brought me this lovely handpainted wool/silk last weekend:

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This is from Holly Spring Homespun, handpainted by Kathy. I love the colorway!

L-B also brought me a beautiful handcrafted shawl pin, which happens to have been made by my friend Alice’s husband.

shawlpin050706 Of Socks and Stupidity and Stash!

These are also available at Holly Spring Homespun.

And last week I placed an online order with Dave Daniel’s new online shop, Cabin Cove Mercantile, for this beautiful laceweight yarn:

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Lucy is interested because this yarn came from Lulu Kitty’s dad!

lucy050706 Of Socks and Stupidity and Stash!

A Blur

That’s what today at the Maryland Sheep and Wool Festival was: a blur.

Phyl and I went up together — here’s Phyl at the wheel: a woman with a mission!

phylatthewheel0506006 A Blur

Right inside the front gate, we saw Carol.

carol050606 A Blur

I was pleased when people actually showed up for my book signing!

knitters050606 A Blur

Rachel H. came to the festival all the way from Toronto, and asked me to sign a book for her friend. She showed me her friend’s email message to her:

blackberry050606 A Blur

I met a group of Ricmond knitters — do you recognize these ladies, L-B?

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And I witnessed a group effort to get Phyl’s yarn untangled. Between the three of them, Phyl, Kel, and Holly got the job done!

yarntangle050606 A Blur

I include this photo just because it’s a good shot of my hair.

wendy050606 A Blur

Heh.

Speaking of Hair

Lucy had her regular Saturday morning appointment with her stylist, Mr. Ian. Oh yeah, her winter coat is pretty much history now!

lucyfur050606 A Blur

“How cute am I?”

lucy050506 A Blur

I bought some yarn, both at the festival and elsewhere, but I’ll talk about that tomorrow. Along with socks and other assorted subjects!

Of Socks and Needles and Lacy Ribs and Radios and Maryland

Wellllll . . . I turned the heel on my first Mahogany sock. Alert the media.

sock050406 Of Socks and Needles and Lacy Ribs and Radios and Maryland

Since switching back to the Skacel bamboo dpns, I realized that I do like them better for socks than the rosewood dpns that I’ve been using. The rosewoods bend alarmingly while I knit with them. These bamboo needles seem more stable.

(Now that I’ve said that, watch me snap one.)

I was thinking about a bit of patterning for the leg, to make things more interesting, you know? A simple lace pattern seems in order. I was gonna use the lacy rib from Debi’s new pattern that she’s generously sharing with us — free!

But you know what? I really really like this yarn in stockinette. So these socks will be plain.

sock050406a Of Socks and Needles and Lacy Ribs and Radios and Maryland

I’ll save Debi’s lacy rib for a plainer yarn!

Radio, Radio

Radio is a sound salvation
Radio is cleaning up the nation

I will be doing an interview this evening with Barbara DeMarco-Barrett for her show Writers on Writing, simulcast on KUCI (88.9 FM). Click on the link to listen to it as a live stream online. Did you miss it? Check back on the website — it should be made available as a podcast in the near future.

Maryland, Maryland, Maryland, Maryland

Life is but a dream.

Maryland Sheep & Wool Festival is this weekend! Yay! And the weather doesn’t look quite as sucky as it did a few days ago! Double-yay!

A reminder — I’ll be outside the Main Exhibition Hall from 1-3pm on Saturday (May 6). If you’ve got my book and would like me to sign it, I’ll be happy to do so then. If you don’t already have my book and would like a copy, stop in at the Spirit-Trail Fiberworks booth inside the Main Exhibition Hall — they’ll have copies for sale. I hope to see you there!

Lucy Sez

lucy050406 Of Socks and Needles and Lacy Ribs and Radios and Maryland

I’ll just stay home and take a nap, thanks all the same.