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.

A Heel Tip

In one of the sock classes I taught last weekend in Charlotte, I offered a tip to make life easier when you are doing the short rows on my slipstitch heel.

The pattern directs you to work some short rows with increases after you finish the gusset increases. This creates a little curve (with some added fullness) that hugs the back of the heel at the bottom of the heel flap. Here’s a heel with the short rows completed, before working the heel flap.

curve060909 240x160 A Heel Tip

If you are knitting the size medium, for example, you have gusset-increased until you have 55 stitches on the bottom of the foot. At this point you start working back and forth on the heel stitches while the instep stitches just hang out and wait.

On the first row, you knit across 37 stitches, knit in the front and back of the next stitch to increase 1, knit the next stitch, and then wrap the next (unworked) stitch and slip that unworked stitch back to the left needle.

On the second row, turn your work and purl 22, purl in the front and back of the next stitch to increase 1, purl 1, then wrap the next (unworked) stitch and slip that unworked stitch back to the left needle.

Those first two rows of the short row shaping are really the only ones where you need to count your stitches. When you turn your work again and work across, you are going to work until you have 6 stitches remaining  before the gap that is created by wrapping a stitch. Check out this photo:

stitches060809 240x134 A Heel Tip

If you click on the photo for the larger size, you can see that there are 6 stitches left on the left needle before the first gap, so you know it is now time to work the kf&b, K1, W&T.

This is true of each subsequent row in the shaping — you work until you have 6 stitches remaining on your needle before the gap. The pattern tells you how many stitches you work plain in each row, but if you put down your work and then forget which row you are on, this is a good thing to remember.

You are doing a total of 8 shaping rows, so you have 4 increases and wraps on each side of the heel. Here is one side of the heel.

You can see the shaping occurs in little clumps of 3, so if  you forget how many rows you have done, just count your clumps on each side!

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I’ve circled each wrap in this photo of one side of the heel.

This spacing is true for all sizes of my slipstitch heel.

heel060909 240x157 A Heel Tip

Lucy Sez

lucy060909 159x240 A Heel Tip

“I heart the a/c!”

Home Again

I’ve spent the day resting up. icon smile Home Again

I returned home last night from a fun and very busy weekend in Charlotte, NC. As is usually the case, I took no photos, but I was pretty busy the whole time I was there — classes, book-signings, informal get-togethers and meals, and even one radio interview. It all passed far too quickly, but I was pretty happy to return home to a happy purring kitty who has been doing her best not to let me out of her sight.

A big thank-you to Charlotte Yarn for hosting my events. This is a great shop staffed by a group of wonderful people who made me feel right at home. Another big thank you to my friend Aimee who not only invited me to stay at her house, but her two kitties Rozz and Eva did their best to make me feel at home.

And thanks to all the knitters who came out to see me. A bunch of you have been my online buddies for a while, so it was wonderful to see you guys in person, and it was wonderful to meet new friends.

I’ve got very little knitting progress to report. I’ve done a bit on the gansey.

gansey060809 240x160 Home Again

And a bit on the second Catnip Sock.

sip060809 240x160 Home Again

I did get my yarn for the Girasole KAL from The Loopy Ewe while I was gone:

yarn060809 240x160 Home Again

Indigo Moon fingering weight merino. The colorway is MyroGreen Lite.

Doesn’t Lucy look happy now that her Momma is back home?

lucy060809 240x160 Home Again

It Does Not Take Much

It does not take much to suck me into a new knitting project.

See, yesterday Sheri blogged about her Girasole project. She’s coming down the home stretch on hers, and is going to make another one. So she decided a Girasole Knit-Along would be fun.

So in the blink of an eye I had bought the pattern and ordered my yarn from The Loopy Ewe. A bonus in buying the yarn from The Loopy Ewe? Sheri is offering a 20% discount (good until June 15) on yarn purchased to make a Girasole in The Loopy Ewe Girasole-Along. Check out Sheri’s blog entry for details.

I’m gonna make mine from fingering weight yarn. What yarn did I buy? I’ll show you when it gets here.

Speaking of fingering weight yarn, I finally finished my first catnip sock.

catnipsock060409 333x500 It Does Not Take Much

A close-up:

catnipcloseup060409 240x160 It Does Not Take Much

And I am currently working the underarm gussets on Finnian’s Gansey.

gansey060409 240x160 It Does Not Take Much

Tomorrow morning I head for Charlotte North Carolina for a weekend of knitting fun and frivolity. I return home Sunday night, so there will be no Sunday blog post. See you Monday, unless you are planning on coming to one of the Charlotte events, in which case I’ll see you there!

Lucy Sez

lucy060409 240x160 It Does Not Take Much

“It’s raining hard. I love being an indoor kitty!”

How to Read a Chart

Some of you have emailed me to tell me that you’d love to knit some of my sock patterns but are hesitant to try because my patterns are charted and you are not an experienced chart reader. Fear not! Once you have the general idea down, it’s pretty simple.

Here is the chart for my Waterfall Socks (full pattern available from the “Free Patterns” tab up at the top of the page):

waterfall060309 How to Read a Chart

You have both a chart and the key to the chart. The key gives you the definitions of the symbols I use.

To use a knitting chart, you read from right to left (instead of left to right as you would a book) — because you are knitting from right to left, the chart goes in that direction, too.

You read the chart from the bottom up (also the opposite of reading a book, which is of course from the top down) because that’s the direction your knitting is going.

Across the bottom of the chart, the stitches are numbered. This chart is 4 stitches across.

The rows are also numbered (up the right side of the chart). Note that this chart’s rows are numbered 1, 3, 5. Only odd-numbered rows are numbered, because on even-numbered rows, you just knit across. On the pattern, there is a note that points this out.

Okay, Row 1. The first 2 squares are blank, and looking at the key, you see that designates a knit stitch, so K 2. The next square has the “Knit 2 together” symbol in it, so that’s what you do. Then the 4th stitch has the “yarnover” symbol in it, so work a yarnover.

So in words, Row 1 is: K2, K2tog, YO. (4 stitches worked)

You are told in the pattern how many times across the round you work this chart. For example, for the Waterfall Socks in size small (which has 56 stitches around) you work as follows.

Over the instep stitches:

K1, (work chart over next 4 stitches, K3) 3 times, work chart over next 4 stitches, K2 (28 stitches total)

The pattern directions tell you to simply knit across the 28 sole stitches.

Then on Row 2, you knit all the way around your sock (because all even-numbered rows are knit across).

On to Row 3. The Row 3 chart is worked: K1, K2tog, YO, K1. You will once again plug these 4 stitches into the sequence described in Row 1. Then knit across the sole stitches.

Row 4 is knit plain all the way around.

The Row 5 chart is worked: K2tog, YO, K2 and you plug those 4 stitches into the sequence once again.

Row 6 is knit plain again.

So those are the 6 rows of your pattern. Once you have completed 6 rounds on your sock, you start over again with Row 1 and do another pattern repeat of 6 rows total. And so on, until you have reached the length required by the pattern.

That’s a pretty easy chart. Here’s one a bit more challenging:

slchart0603091 How to Read a Chart

This is the Sprucey Lucy pattern chart. (Sprucey Lucy is also available from my “Free Patterns” page.)

Note that every row is charted, not just the odd-numbered ones. This is because not all the even-numbered rows are plain knit — on Row 6 you have to increase a couple of stitches.

You once again start at the bottom right-hand corner and work across from right to left and from bottom to top.

This may be obvious, but I’ll point it out anyway: Because you work socks in the round, you are starting each row on the righthand side and working right to left, because you are always working the right side of the knitted fabric. If you were going to knit this pattern in a flat piece, you would work the even-numbered rows from left to right, because you need to work back to the beginning. The odd-numbered rows are the right side, and the even numbered rows would be the wrong side.

And if this chart were designed for flat knitting, I would likely explain in the key that the blank square symbol means knit on the right side and purl on the wrong side.

Speaking of symbols, note the filled-in black square that is identified as “No stitch.” I need this symbol because on Row 5 you do a double decrease, but there are no accompanying increases. The increases are done on the next row, Row 6.

Anyhow,  this chart written out is:

Row 1: K3, YO, Sl1 K2 tog psso, YO, K3
Row 2: Knit across
Row 3: K2, K2 tog, YO, K1, YO, SSK, K2
Row 4: Knit across
Row 5: K1, K2 tog, YO, Sl1 K2 tog psso, YO, SSK, K1 (7 stitches)
Row 6: K2, K in the front and back of the YO from the row below, K1, K in the front and back of the YO from the row
below, K2 (9 stitches)
Row 7: (K2 tog, YO) twice, K1, (YO, SSK) twice
Row 8: Knit across

Because the chart is 9 stitches wide, you once again need to refer to the pattern, which tells you how to place the 9 chart stitches into a sock round, and how many times.

I hope this makes sense — it does in my head but that is not always an indication of clarity. icon wink How to Read a Chart

Lucy Sez

lucy060309 500x333 How to Read a Chart

“When I act silly, Momma takes my picture!”

Back to Knitting

Thank you for all your good wishes. I’m feeling much better today, after having had a full day of antibiotics.  The only pain I’m having now, I think, is the residual ache of having someone drill a hole into my tooth and dig out its innards. And the 800mg ibuprofen tablets are helping to keep that pain to a minimum. The only problem is that they wear off after about 4 hours and I’m only supposed to take one once every 8 hours.

So now I can concentrate on looking forward to my trip to Charlotte, NC this Friday. There are all sorts of fun things planned at Charlotte Yarn. Here is the page describing the events. I hope if you are nearby you’ll drop in!

I knit a bit on Finnian’s Gansey last night — see?

gansey060209 240x160 Back to Knitting

Just a bit more and then I will start increasing on each side for the underarm gussets.

And I returned to the Catnip Sock on my commute today. It’s coming along.

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Check out these cool stamps from Sweden, which were affixed to a large envelope I received today:

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Thanks, Johanne! icon biggrin Back to Knitting

Lucy wishes I wouldn’t photograph her while she’s trying to have a quiet drink of water.

lucy060209 240x160 Back to Knitting