My current work in progress:

1. Woodfords, designed by Elizabeth Doherty, knit from Madelinetosh Merino Light in the "paper" colorway on U.S. size 3, 5, and 7 needles.
2. Myriad stealth projects.

It’s a Bird! It’s a Plane!

lucyjumpdown043007 Its a Bird! Its a Plane!

It’s Super Ragdoll!

The KOARC took that action shot of Miss Lucy, leaping down from the top of the wall unit in my living room. I praised her for her agility:

lucyheadtouch043007 Its a Bird! Its a Plane!

So, Roseann and Opal, she may look like a little angel when she sleeps, but she is, in reality, a super-hero! And as you can see, her leg is just fine now.

In addition to remarking on how angelic Lucy looks when she sleeps, Roseann commented:
I wondered how you were going to block your mitered sweater, I thought maybe steaming. Did you use your new foam blocks (that you used for your Alpine Lace) and blocking wires? I’m enjoying your watching your miter progress, it is very entertaining!

I did use the foam blocks, but no blocking wires. I only use blocking wires when I am blocking lace and stretching it out. No stretching here — I just sort of pushed everything into shape.

I thought about steaming the pieces, but was afraid that would distort the garter stitch too much, so I opted for a dunk in cool water with Soak woolwash. I gently squeezed out excess water by rolling the pieces in bath towels and gently squeezing, and then laid them out on the foam blocks, straightened the pieces out, and left them to dry.

Lucy helped.

miter043007 Its a Bird! Its a Plane!

Serendipity Socks!

I finished the second of my Serendipity socks. Here is the pair:

serendipity043007 Its a Bird! Its a Plane!

To recap, this is Chewy Spaghetti sport weight sock yarn in the “Serendipity” colorway, purchased from the Loopy Ewe. I used a 3.0mm needle for the sock and my new pattern that I cobbled together. (I’ll be posting the pattern soon — watch this space.)

Becky commented:
The colorway of your new socks reminds me a lot of the Lucy socks you made out of STR. Are they as similar in person as they seem?

Also, I’m curious how much ribbing you do at the top to keep your socks up? It looks like maybe about an inch on this pair? I’m getting ready to bind off the first of my Longhorn socks and trying to decide how much ribbing I want.

This colorway is much brighter than the Socks That Rock “Lucy” colorway. The Lucy colorway is more muted and resembles my Lucy’s coloring very much.

lucysocks043007 Its a Bird! Its a Plane!

I only did an inch of ribbing at the top of these socks. I don’t like a deep ribbing on socks.

Swedish Picnic

The Swedish picnic we attended on Saturday was not in celebration of Valborg, but was the “end of the school-year” party for an adult education Swedish school in the Washington DC area. I am the webmaster for the school’s website, so the director kindly invited me and the KOARC to the picnic. (The KOARC has some nice photos of the event on his blog here.)

MDS&W

By the way, several people have asked if I’ll be going to the Maryland Sheep and Wool Festival this weekend. I’ve decided not to. I don’t always go, and because I’m in the middle of my “Knit From My Stash” effort, there’s really no reason to go this year. This will leave more yarn for the rest of you. icon wink Its a Bird! Its a Plane!

No, no need to thank me. It’s a public service I am pleased to offer.

Sunday Slowdown

We had a wild and crazy Saturday, see?

ian042907 Sunday Slowdown

Lucy and I are now having a quiet Sunday. We’ve done the wash:

miter042907 Sunday Slowdown

That’s the back of my miter sweater. (I’ve washed the front as well.)

I decided to wet-block it and have carefully laid it out to dry.

I’ve been mulling over how to block it for a while. Because the whole thing is made of little squares separately knitted, the resulting fabric was somewhat bumpy. A good wet-block has smoothed it out very nicely. I laid the front and the back out and have carefully pushed them into shape, and measured each piece so that they match in dimensions.

Now it’s on to the sleeves.

I did finish the first sock of the current pair.

sock042907 Sunday Slowdown

And I’m working on the second one.

In the book drawing, Karen B. was chosen by the random number generator to receive my copy of Blood at the Root. Karen, I’ve emailed you.

And Lucy has decided to take a nap.

lucy042907 Sunday Slowdown

That is all.

Third Time’s the Charm

After I posted my blog entry last night, I went back and ripped out the heel of my sock and added 2 more increases to the gusset and re-did the heel. Now I am happy. The sock-in-progress fits me perfectly now.

sip042607 Third Times the Charm

The lovely Chewy Spaghetti yarn stood up to being ripped and reknit twice with nary a whimper, I am happy to say.

A bunch of you asked about the heel. I knit a gusset and then turned the heel, decreasing back down to the pre-gusset number of stitches.

heel042607 Third Times the Charm

I will post a pattern for this sock, after I knit the second one. (I am in no way claiming to have invented this heel — it’s something I sort of figured out trial and error, but I’m betting someone else has also figured it out before me.) I’ve drafted the pattern but want to make the second sock from the pattern to proofread it and make sure I didn’t commit any atrocities in it. The pattern will be for a sportweight sock yarn (which the Chewy Spaghetti is — I’m knitting it at 6.5 stitches and 9 rows to the inch). I’ll rework it for a fingering weight eventually.

Thanks to those of you who have suggested alternate methods for doing the toe. I have tried them all. No, I do not like the Turkish cast-on. Sorry Debi. icon wink Third Times the Charm I actually have tried it several times. Yes, I can do it and it looks just fine. No, I do not like it.

I have done Judy’s Magic Cast-on from Knitty. Ditto above.

Both of these techniques work great and make beautiful toes. If you like them, use them, and more power to you. They are just not for me.

Back to the Miters

The poor miters have been getting short shrift the past couple of days as I have been playing with socks.

Patti asked a good question:
Ok I confess…I’m miter-square challenged. I understand how they are made (I’ve done miter-square dishcloths) but how to you put them all together? Is there a good tutorial/book out there? I’ve seen mitersquare afghans, and I’m thinking this is a GREAT way to use up all my scrap sock yarn. We shall not speak of how much leftover sock yarn I actually have.

I think the book Knits From a Painter’s Palette is a great source of inspiration, and also has a good section on how to knit miters in different shapes and how to attach then to each other.

(It is also some serious eye-candy.)

The way I attach my miters:

miter042607 Third Times the Charm

I have a right angle along which I need to pick up 25 stitches (my squares start with 25 stitches). I start at the top edge and pick up 12 stitches down to the corner. Because I have slipped the first stitch on every row as I knit a square, I’ve got a nice chain edge from which to pick up stitches. I pick up each stitch in both “legs” of the edge stitch.

miter042607a Third Times the Charm

Then in the corner, I pick up one stitch.

miter042607b Third Times the Charm

miter042607c Third Times the Charm

Then 12 more stitches on the bottom edge.

miter042607d Third Times the Charm

And there you have it!

miter042607e Third Times the Charm

When you attach the first square at the start of a row, you don’t have the first side to knit down, so I cast on 12 stitches using a knitted cast on, then pick up the corner stitch at the very edge of the bottom square, then pick up my 12 stitches along the bottom.

Book Giveaway!

I’ve got another Inspector Banks mystery by Peter Robinson to give away. This one is Blood at the Root.

Want it? Send an email to blogcontestATcomcastDOTnet before noon Eastern time on Sunday April 29, and I’ll use the random number generator to pick a recipient.

Lucy Sez

lucy042607 Third Times the Charm

“Of course Momma takes pictures of me every day. I am a supermodel, after all!”

Sock This

A couple of questions about socks and sock yarns.

Lorraine asked:
Do you find yourself buying more sock yarn, due to the exemption of the Knit from Your Stash?

Huh? What? Mumble, mumble, mumble . . .

Mary asked:
When you finish knitting socks, do you wash them and dry on the sock blockers? Or are the sock blockers for “show.” (I use mine just to display for photos.)

I, too, use mine just to display for photos. (You can buy both plastic and wood sock blockers from The Loopy Ewe, by the way.)

Mai asked:
i’m sure you’ve been asked this question before, and i’m sure you’ve answered it before. i’m even sure that i’ve read your answer but have since forgotten it. so, inquiring minds want to know. how many pairs of socks have you knit? and where do they all go? do you gift them? or do you keep them and actually wear them all?

I don’t know how many pairs of socks I have knit. You can see how many pairs I’ve knitted since I started blogging, by looking at my knitting gallery, which is always linked to from the sidebar on the main blog page. There is a category for socks, and all socks knitted since April 2002 are there.

Where do they all go? Some I give away as gifts, soome I keep. The ones I keep, I wear.

Asaknitter asked:
Simply love Serendipity – what pattern will you be using?

I’m so pleased you asked. Because . . .

Warning! Warning! Warning! — Shocking Content Ahead!

I am not using my generic toe-up pattern.

Do not be alarmed — I am knitting toe-up. But I thought it would be fun to try something different.

So last night I did not knit on my mitered sweater at all. Instead, I futzed around with sock toes. I tried a Turkish cast-on and decided it was way too fiddly for me to use on a regular basis. So I used a tried and true old method.

I put a slip knot on one dpn and then using a backwards loop, cast on 10 stitches (in addition to the slip knot). Using a second dpn, I knit back on the 10 stitches and dropped the slip knot off the needle.

The purpose of the slip knot was to “anchor” the backwards loops on the needle while I knitted back on them.

Then I purled one row, knit 1 row, purled 1 row on those 10 stitches for a total of 4 rows in stockinette stitch to form a rectangle.

Then I picked up 2 stitches along one side of the the rectangle, 10 stitches along the cast-on edge, and 2 stitches down the other side of the rectangle for a total of 24 stitches. I arranged them over 4 needles and knit one round even. On the next round I increased 4 stitches thusly:

Needle 1: Knit 1, M1, knit to the end
Needle 2: Knit until the last stitch, M1, K1
Needle 3: Knit 1, M1, knit to the end
Needle 4: Knit until the last stitch, M1, K1

Then knit a round without increasing.

I did this until I had a total of 52 stitches. The Chewy Spaghetti is a sport weight sock yarn and knitting it on 3.0mm needles, a total of 52 stitches is just right for socks for me.

Here’s the toe:

toe042507 Sock This

In retrospect, I probably should have started out with more stitches because this is a little pointier than I like. But when I slip it on my foot, it looks fine. So be it.

toe042507a Sock This

Now, to further confound and amaze myself, I did not do a short row heel.

(At this point you might be thinking “Who are you and what did you do with Wendy?” I know. Chalk it up to Spring Fever or something.)

I tried an Eye of Partridge heel with a gusset. I did not like the look of the Eye of Partridge and ripped it out and did the heel plain.

And here’s my heel.

heel042507 Sock This

I tried it on and it fits, but I think on the next pair I’ll make the gusset a couple of rows deeper.

Why did I deviate from my usual sock process?

The reason I’ve always started my socks with a provisional cast on and used the short row technique is to avoid the fiddly bits — juggling multiple needles with just a few stitches on them. That is difficult to do on the train.

However, I am not a fan of the purling back required in doing the short row technique. Yes, I could knit backwards instead of purl, but I’ve found at fine gauges, I can purl faster than I can knit backwards. So I think I’ll experiment with this toe technique for a bit.

The heel? Just for grins. Change is good.

I will continue, however, doing socks toe-up most of the time. I really really like the idea of being able to knit until you run out of yarn.

The Chewy Spaghetti yarn, by the way, is lovely to work with. It is very soft and the colors are wonderful. They have a glowing, velvety look. I’m very glad I got two skeins of it when Sheri put it up for sale (I have a skein in “Lyrical” as well) because I think it’ll become one of my favorite yarns.

When you are a little sick of everything, there’s nothing like a sock knitted in sportweight yarn for some immediate gratification!

There’s also nothing like a making a different toe and heel to perk you up.

Lucy thinks I’m weird.

lucy042507 Sock This

They Call Me Mellow Yellow (Ah-choo!)

Everything in the Washington D.C. area seems to be covered with a film of yellow dust. And my coworkers are doing a lot of sneezing

Last week we had lots of rain. That was followed by a few very warm days, causing trees and plants to burgeon forth. And that leads to . . .

Pollen!

The weather forecast for today states that tree pollen is very high — same forecast for tomorrow. We’re supposed to have some rain over the next couple of days. That will mix with the blanket of pollen on my car’s windshield to form a yellow paste.

Fun times.

Miters

miter042407 They Call Me Mellow Yellow (Ah choo!)

Yup. Mitering along. I’ve started thinking about what to do for the seaming of this garment. What I think I will do is to pick up and knit stitches along the edges, then do a purl three-needle bind-off so that there’s a purl ridge along the seam. I’ll try it on the shoulder seams when I complete the front. If I don’t like it, I can easily rip it out, but I think it’ll go nicely with the rest of the garment.

Socks

The Melon Ball socks are done.

melonball042407 They Call Me Mellow Yellow (Ah choo!)

And I plucked this lovely skein of Chewy Spaghetti sock yarn out of the stash for the next pair.

sockyarn042407 They Call Me Mellow Yellow (Ah choo!)

The colorway is “Serendipity” and I bought it last week from The Loopy Ewe. Isn’t it a great colorway? I’m looking forward to diving in!

Hokie Spirit Memorial Fund

L-B sent me this link to the Hokie Spirit Memorial Fund. From this page you can read about the fund, which will be used to cover expenses including but not limited to assistance to victims and their families, grief counseling, memorials, communication expenses, and comfort expenses.

You can also access a list of individual funds established in the victims names, and also go to the donation page itself, where you can donate to any of the funds online using a credit card. (There’s also the option of mailing a check.)

This. I think, is a good, practical way to show your support and help out survivors and the families of the victims of last week’s horrific shooting.

Lucy Sez

lucy042407 They Call Me Mellow Yellow (Ah choo!)

“I’m glad I don’t have to share my blog with a cute baby today.”