My current work in progress:

Seaforth designed by Alice Starmore, knit in British Breeds 5-ply Guernsey Wool on US 3 needles.


Archives for October 2007

Hallowe’en Confessions

I’ll admit it: I’m a Hallow-weenie when it comes to Hallowe’en. I’m the cranky old lady who turns out all the lights and pretends she’s not home when the trick-or-treaters come around.

It all started many years ago. I lived in the U.K. when I was a kid and back then (wa-a-a-a-ay back all those years ago) there was no trick-or-treating on Hallowe’en. We lived in a village just outside London where a few other American military families lived as well, so I think we trick-or-treated amongst ourselves, but it was really not the same.

And when we returned to the U.S., my brother and I considered ourselves far too old and mature to dress up and go out on Hallowe’en.

So my current lack of interest can be traced back to my deprived childhood.

I live in a high-rise condo where there are few children anyway. In past years the condo association would host a party for the kids on Hallowe’en, but I’ve seen no mention of it this year. But they do have signs in the management office that you can post on your front door if you want trick-or-treaters. Because the only treats I have are sock yarn, I won’t be posting a sign on my door.

Though can you imagine the reaction if I dropped a skein of sock yarn in a kid’s bag?

Speaking of sock yarn . . .

Here’s the second Diamond Gansey sock.

Diamond Gansey Sock 103107

Diamond Gansey Sock 103107

Yesterday I mentioned that a pattern like this should be knit in a solid color yarn to show the texture. There was a comment asking if one could use a hand-dyed tonal as well. I think you’d have to be really careful and be prepared for disappointment. As another comment, Liz in IN said:

Sometime a tonal colour variegation adds enough to the look that it offsets any loss of crispness. But for a gansey-sweater or sock-solid colour yarn is the way to go, imo. It’s all about the stitches.

I tend to agree with her.

Liz went on to ask:

Speaking of splitty yarn-have you found that you can tell by looking whether a yarn will be splitty? Some yarns, sure, it’s pretty obvious that it’ll be a fight to the finish. But I’ve been surprised, too: some (v popular) yarn that I figured would be virtually split-proof turned out to be…not so much.

The answer for me is . . . sometimes. I wouldn’t have thought this Louet yarn would be splitty, but it is a little. I think how we knit and hold our yarn contributes to the “to split or not to split” factor as well. So your mileage may vary. 😉

Okie-dokie — no blog entry tomorrow, as I will be busy with some special guests. I may or may not be back on Sunday, or I may wait til Monday to return to the blog.

Lucy Sez

Lucy 103107

Lucy 103107
“What? Momma’s not taking me out trick-or-treating tonight? Bummer”

Knitters ISO Patterns

I’ve gotten some comments lately asking where to find patterns of a particular sort. To wit:

Thalia asked:

In terms of fingering-weight yarn, my hands are not too happy about it. Right now, I’m working with a DK or light worsted weight yarn, and 3.0 mm needles (2 circs), and liking those. Do you have any favorite sock yarns or patterns that you would recommend for a slightly heavier weight sock?

Thalia, I have several patterns for socks in sport/DK weight yarn that are written for a gauge of 6.5 stitches/inch.

I have a free generic pattern here (pdf format).

My Southwestern Socks are a free download (pdf format) from The Loopy Ewe.

I’ve got two socks patterns in this gauge available for sale from The Loopy EweHearts for Heidi, and Making Tracks.

Hopefully you’ll find something you like among these patterns!

Debbie commented:

I just learned how to make socks and am loving it so far. I am at the end of my first pair. It is just a plan sock, done on dp needles. I would like to try a pair on two circulars and was wondering if you could recommend a good starting pattern. I have bought some books about knitting socks on circulars but was wondering if you had a pattern or instructions for them.

It’s quite simple to convert a sock to two circulars if it is written for dpns. I do have a free pattern at The Loopy Ewe that is written to be knit on two circs — Cabletini (pdf format).

A number of my patterns for sale at The Loopy Ewe are written for two circs as well (but of course can be knit on dpns or with the magic loop). They are: Garden Path (pattern temporarily sold out), Healthy Spine, Hearts for Heidi, L-Bee, Loopy Laces, Making Tracks, and Pagoda Lace.

There. How’s that for self-promotion? 😉

Speaking of socks, I got a second wind last night and bravely soldiered through the heel on the second Diamond Gansey Sock.

Diamond Gansey Sock 102907

Diamond Gansey Sock 102907

Terri asked in the comments what yarns could be used for this sock other than the Louet Gems fingering — pretty much any fingering weight sock yarn will work, as long as it is a solid color. A handpaint would obscure the texture too much.

Jocelyn pointed out, though, that while the Louet Gems yarn is a bit splitty, it launders better than most sock yarns, so that’s a definite plus!

Meanwhile, Lucy is doing her stretching exercises before her cat yoga.

Lucy 103007

Lucy 103007

And I’m going to go shove some more warm salt water up my nose. Not a pretty image, is it? Well, neither am I at the moment. 😉


Yep, I actually went in to the office today. First time since October 10, so as you may imagine, lots of stuff was piled up, waiting for me.

I left most of it sitting there, as I am only supposed to be working half-days until my follow-up appointment with my surgeon the middle of next month. But I did make a few inroads into piles of “stuff.”

I made some inroads into my second Diamond Gansey sock, too.

Diamond Gansey Sock 102907

Diamond Gansey Sock 102907

Several of you have asked if this pattern will be available for sale. It will be — but I’m not sure when. But I’ll be sure to let you know when it is. I’m so pleased y’all like it. 🙂

A question about how I like knitting with the Louet Gems fingering. It’s okay — not my favorite sock yarn in the work, but certainly not my least favorite either. It’s lovely and soft and has great stitch definition. I do find it to be a little splitty — you have to pay some degree of attention while knitting.

There were some questions about my giant cream puff as well — if it’s made the same way as a regular cream puff. The answer is pretty much so, yeah. You make a batch of pate choux and instead of forming separate cream puffs or eclairs, you make a ring of about 8″ diameter. Bake in a preheated 450 degree oven for 15 minutes, then turn it down to 350 degrees and bake one hour further.

Then you treat it as a regular cream puff — cool, slice the top off and dig out the doughy bits before filling it. You can fill with whatever you like — I chose chocolate mousse.

Here is my favorite little Cream Puff looking rather loopy (but she’s not — she’s just half asleep, like me):

Lucy 102907

Lucy 102907
Speaking of Lucy this is her new favorite book:

Cat Yoga 102907

Cat Yoga 102907

It is Cat Yoga, by Rick Tillotson. The book description (plucked from the website) pretty much says it all:

For centuries, people have practiced yoga as a means of improving the body, clearing the mind, and heightening joy. Now your favorite feline can relish the benefits of this ancient discipline with Cat Yoga. Regular practice will help your cat feel more energetic—no more three hour naps in the sun for him! Other benefits include:

• Improved balance
• A sleek waistline
• Mental clarity
• Fuller, more luxurious whiskers

Sixty full-color photographs of cats who have already unlocked the power of yoga guide your beloved pet on this journey, paving the way to enlightenment through Cat Yoga.

* No cats pulled a muscle, felt dizzy, or were harmed in any way in the making of this book. Does Fluffy seem stiff and tense? Help him become the lithe and limber feline he was meant to be with Cat Yoga, a hands-on guide to the ancient practice of yoga . . . for cats.

Just a Quickie

Just a quickie post today because I’m feeling rather worn out, due no doubt to pesky seasonal allergies. That on top of my already weakened state has led to no energy whatsoever.

We did have a nice birthday celebration for the  KOARC this weekend. Lucy gave her Daddy a book of Lucy stickers (ordered from Moo) and he obligingly stuck one on his forehead to amuse us.

KOARC 102807

KOARC 102807

I made a giant cream puff filled with chocolate mousse and glazed with chocolate for his birthday cake. (It’s actually made as a ring with a hole in the middle like a doughnut, rather that one giant puff.)
Cream Puff 102807

Cream Puff 102807

And let me tell you, consuming that just about killed us!

I did finish the first of my Diamond Gansey socks:

Diamond Gansey Sock 102807

Diamond Gansey Sock 102807

Made from Louet Gems fingering. Here’s a close-up:

Diamond Gansey Sock Closeup 102807

Diamond Gansey Sock Closeup 102807

Now if you’ll excuse me, I’m going to go lie on the couch with  You-Know-Who:

Lucy 102807

Lucy 102807

Someday this blog will return to full strength.  Just not this week.

It Was a Dark and Stormy Evening

Last night I was all hunkered down, ready to watch two episodes of Good Eats on television, a rainstorm pounding against the windows, Lucy snuggled up next to me. Knitting in hand, of course.

And the power went out.

Fortunately, it came on about 90 minutes later and fortunately this happens very rarely where I live (a circuit blew at the nearest substation apparently).

So I went into the bedroom with my high-powered flashlight — smaller room, so easier to light — and sat up in bed to read a book by flashlight. Lucy, who was very upset by this sudden darkness and change of plans, joined me after a few minutes, and curled up on my legs.

When the power came back on, I saw she had brought a favorite toy with her and placed it on the bed next to her.

Say it with me: Awwwwwwwwww!

Today has been cloudy and grey and drizzling rain. A good day to stay inside and knit.

Here’s the sock I started yesterday:

Sock 102507

Sock 102507

It’s Louet Gems fingering in “Aqua.” The pattern is my own, based on traditional gansey patterning. It shows up very nicely in this light-colored yarn.

The rest of the day was spent in preparing for the KOARC birthday extravaganza, which will take place tomorrow evening. I’m planning a birthday cake for him that ‘s — well, it’s gonna be a surprise.

Lucy sez

“On days like today, a nap is the best idea!”

Lucy 1 102507

Lucy 1 102507

Lucy 102507

Lucy 102507

Tomorrow, Friday, is (blogless) L-B’s birthday. Happy Birthday, L-B!