Sunday, November 28, 2010


Oh it's nothing earth shattering, I was very much looking forward to knitting the rainbow scarf by Eline Sanders as it's so beautiful.  I bought Kauni Effektgarn in EQ the rainbow colorway and I was so excited.  I vaguely remembered doing a double knit belt for a sweater long ago, and it was super easy so I thought it wold be like riding a bike.

Then I delayed the gratification by knitting my Dad some socks, this was necessary and he loves them :)  ... and because I was traveling I decided to finish the other Pomatomus sock.  I had knit the companion last March, and after completing the first sock I found out I was having a girl and immediately began to knit things for her.  So it was time.  Besides the yarn and sock turned out gorgeous and i'm happy to have the pair.

Well I am feeling very good.  I have finished all projects that I wanted to before starting a NEW project and I'm at my parents house so I have some babysitting help and a nice block of time to figure this pattern out and get rolling before I head home and start knitting in 15 min spurts agin.

As it turns out double knitting is not for me.  I do not know how to knit continental (I want to learn, but it seems I should already be proficient at that before attempting this project).  My attempts have created double knit fabric, but the tension is really horrid, and it looks so sloppy.  This yarn is also a tad rough, I'm not sure I'd like it all snuggled next to my neck.

So I'm disappointed.  I was SO excited for his scarf it's totally beautiful.  Alas.  It isn't to be.

Sunday, November 21, 2010

The Second Sock... and the end of Riff

Riff Socks in all their glory  (might need to click to appreciate)

What is it about the second sock?  The first sock is always so exciting, I wind the yarn and carefully weigh to ensure I make two even socks.  I watch as the color pattern unfolds over what seems like the most exciting knitting i've ever done...

Then the first sock is done.  The anticipation and the discovery is over.  What took maybe two evenings to knit, will now take another week and a half to complete.  Why do I get so bitter about the second sock. I realize I have to make two when I start a project.  I've knit lots of socks before, but still it is so painful.  I feel like when I cast on again I should be doing something new and exciting  (I feel similarly about sleeves)

I have also tried to knit two socks at the same time on circulars.  This is fine, but the yarn gets SO tangled it's really really annoying.  I think it's actually faster to knit them separately.

Unfortunately I have two pairs of socks sitting in my yarn closet.  Both of them only contain one finished sock sitting next to a nicely wound ball of yarn.  Perhaps after my next project i'll knit the second sock.  Enough time has passed that it will be exciting and fun again.  Also it's winter and I personally cannot have too many hand knit socks.  Unless I'm exercising I want them on my feet.

I don't think I'll ever knit this particular pattern again.  It was fun at times, but the heel was too much of a pain.  The pattern doesn't state that you NEED to end on a pattern row not a knit row, and there is a previously discussed issue with the counting back.

In my life i've only knit 2 sock patterns more than once, Corolois by Cat Bordhi, and the Inside-out sock from Rockin' Sock club 2007.  The Inside-Out socks are really awesome.  Fun to knit and even better to wear.

The yarn is beautiful, but again it kept splitting which was super annoying considering how many ktbl's there were in this pattern.  It's cool how they look different.

So here it is.  The finished socks.  Thank goodness.
Modeled by my lovely husband.
My father will enjoy these for a winter, before he puts holes in them and next year I wil knit him another pair.  Interestingly enough my mother has just learned to knit socks.  She hasn't yet completed a full sized pair, but it's coming.  Maybe next winter he can have two pairs, one from me and one from her :)

Saturday, November 20, 2010

Cute baby with Celestine!

In all the posting of Riff socks we almost forgot about the cute baby! Well here she is she is just old enough to play with the Celestine. It's soft points are easy for her to grab onto and she enjoys chewing on the wool. It's machine washable so I'm not concerned.
And there it rolls away...
This one is mine, you should get your own Mommy.

Monday, November 15, 2010

Riff Socks - the middle

I sorted out the heel, turns out that the way I count I actually needed to back up 31 rows, not 32.  I determined (by virtually knitting the heel)  that if you count the row you were on as 1 then it's 32 rounds, if you don't, then it's 31 rounds.  I'm really literal and that distinction can mean needing to rip back the entire heel,  I hope that helps someone out.

I also reversed the direction of the cross of the stitches. I like a true cable pattern that goes over under over under.  It doesn't change anything either.  Now that i'm on the leg it is moving along very nicely.

There is always the dilemma, do I use up all the yarn?  Or do I stop knitting when i'm ready.

This time I stopped after one repeat.  There is only one diamond on the foot so one on the leg made sense.  These are not intended to be knee socks, just something cozy to wear to bed.  I think they look really cool

I am so happy I redid the heel, they are so delightfully symetrical :)

I have completed the toe of the second sock.  I am happy to say the colors are coming out in reverse on the second sock.  These all have to be completed by the weekend!

Friday, November 12, 2010

UGH!! - Riff Socks

I have easily knit 50 pairs of socks in my life.  I love knitting socks.  Patterns do not get the best of me...

Well.  I have run into my first roadblock.  I have successfully knit the foot and my increases for the instep were perfect and the sizing was good.  I turned the heel and all was well.  Then you are required to count back 32 rows so when you complete the heel it matches the pattern on the instep and you can make this beautiful twisted stitch pattern that meets.

WELL i counted 34 rows back.  Then tried to horribly patch it up so that I didn't have to rip it all out.
Fail Fail Fail.

It's all frogged to the instep now, and I will do the heel again.  Correctly :)

This blog totally kept me honest. I will feel better then the socks are knit correctly.

I feel a little bad judging this yarn, but it's still splitting and did not rip out all that nicely, it is spectacular in color and softness.  My husband has already commented that he wants a pair that does this beautiful ombre business.  Normally he likes things in earth tones so this is huge.  Anyway give the yarn a chance.

Pictures to follow when there is something to show.

Thursday, November 11, 2010

Riff Socks - the beginning

This is an experiment, instead of just showing a pretty finished object, i'm going to blog along while knitting these socks.  I'm taking a risk because if they completely fail I can't just put them away and pretend it didn't happen. :)

They are for my Dad.  It is cold in Upstate NY (and I mean actual upstate, not 10 min outside NYC), and a person needs some extra covering at night.  He always asks for bright colored socks so that they are easier to see in the dark.  The day I find glow in the dark sock yarn I will be using that!  Since he goes through one pair each winter, I tend to make a simple pattern that is both fun and quick to knit.

It came down to the "An American in China" socks on Knitty and "Riff".  The yarn I was using is nowhere near sport weight, so Riff won.

I'm using Schoppel Wolle Zauberball.  It's bright red and looks like this:

Here are all my gauge details
2.5 mm needles
8.5 st/inch
11.5 rounds/inch

Don't worry folks I didn't do a swatch, but in Cat Bordhi style I used the toe to determine if i was doing it right!  My round gauge isn't right so I had to make some adjustments.  I am finding that with her book you can make any sock pattern with any yarn.

I am making a size 9-9.5 socks with 8" finished circumference (size Large).  This sock is going to be a gift for my Dad.  Luckily he doesn't read my blog unless I indicate that he should.  So I don't think i'll ruin the surprise by posting.

As of now I'm going to use the following measurements to complete the foot/heel turn/heel.  I will probably make a reinforced heel since my dad always wears through his socks, but we'll see.

toe = 3.5 inches
gusset = 4.5" =  51 rows  (increases every 3rd row) - could be done every other row(34 rows) for a 3" instep
heel turn = 2 inches = 22 rows

These were all calculated using basic math and hopefully will mean my sock comes out the right size.

Luckily saw some folks on ravelry having trouble and stopped, when my toe was about 3" so IO was able to grab the Cat Bordhi book and figure out what I needed to do to make the sock work with my gauge and this yarn.  I love the twisted stitches!

I am having some issues with this yarn, it splits constantly, I'm not sure I would use it again.  It is super soft and the socks have this really pretty halo so far.  BUT so do alot of other yarns that aren't so annoying. I'm so glad I didn't buy more of it, I was very close to getting a bunch of the purple and yellow colorway, now.... I'm going to try out Kauni instead.

Thursday, November 4, 2010

My first foray into stranding

I love knitting with multi colors.  LOVE IT.  I have done some cable sweaters in the past, and for some reason I have made like 4 red cable knit hats... (again another story for another day) but my true passion is to play with color.  I love them all and it really keeps me knitting.

My first few attempts at intarsia and fair-isle type knitting were a huge fail, and not to ever be discussed. 
 (I think we all have the plastic bin full of "experiments"  Generally mine stay there until I need a good laugh.)

My first success at stranding was a wrap.  It's called Nordic Lights and it's in the book Wrap Style.  It's the cover actually!  It was so irresistible that I went out and bought Cascade 220 and knit it right up.    

I thought it came out so awesome, and I have this cream tight fitting sweater that it looks so good over! With a pair of jeans, I thought I looked sharp.  There was one problem.  You cannot raise your arms, at all. So my job, which involves basically typing all day, was hard to do, I had to keep pulling the sweater down, forget driving, or wearing it under a coat.  So it's beautiful if you just stand there, hands in pockets... Nevertheless it was a BLAST to knit and I recommend it to anyone.
Super close up!  The color choices took some time.
I have since discovered Dale of Norway patterns.  (Incidentally how do you pronounce "Dale" is it like the name.. or is it more like "Dah-ley"?)  At this time I have attempted five of them.  I have completed one,  and the remaining require a smidge of finishing.   My problem is that I enjoy the knitting and hate the finishing, so once the knitting is done, I quickly move to the next thing :)  Oh well.

I really want to try doing something where one of the yarn is variegated or striping or something, I think that looks so cool.  I have some Kauni Wool 8/2 Effetgarn in the rainbow color arriving soon, and want to make that pretty double knit rainbow scarf.   Talk about color...

Sunday, October 31, 2010

Nordic Knits

Baby Girl in her beautiful knitted dress
This is the first of I'm sure many many posts about my love for the Dale of Norway patterns. I have actually completed one. Yep. That's it. There are 4 more in various stages of completeness, usually I get bogged down in finishing. Perhaps sharing my adventures in 2 color stranded knitting will propel me to finish.

The following baby patterns all are from Dale of Norway - Traditional designs for Baby - you know you have the right book if you see the 18 mo old wearing a jaunty newsboy's cap on the front.

The first is Voss, I made the dress for the baby girl. It's for our Christmas cards. Which even though it's October I need to take pictures of her in, and get going because it's not going to fit forever!  I used 3 balls of red and 1 ball of off-white Dale baby ull.  I was positive I was going to run out of yarn, nope... I even have a bit leftover for potential matching booties!
Don't be fooled by my beautiful even stitches here (go ahead and click it, they look pretty darn good), things aren't always what they seem.  Blocking plays and enormous roll in making these garments look good.  Before they are blocked, this section was a crumpled mess.  But a couple quick hits from the mighty steam iron (very funny bit about the mighty Rowenta in Mason Dixon knitting, a good steam iron is a must have for every knitter) and everything lies flat, and drapes beautifully.  In future postings I can illustrate this much better.  Everyone should give this a try, it's not difficult and makes things that look REALLY difficult, even though I spent 90% of this project using red going round and round and round!
MMM wool

Thursday, October 28, 2010

Cool and Educational Baby Knits!!

The Celestine, i think was intended to be a topper for a Christmas tree. This is a very cute idea, and someday I will perhaps make one out of white or yellow and do that. For now, it seems way more fun as a toy for babies to learn colors, counting, and an introduction to polyhedrons.

This Celestine, which is a dodecahedron, (a 12 sided polyhedron) was created using my leftover sock club yarn. I have been a member of the Blue Moon Rockin' Sock Club since 2007. Until this year I faithfully got all my socks knitted, but alas that is another blog post. ANYWAY, there are remnants of those 18 balls of yarn which I was able to use to make this. It required 6 grams of yarn per point. So if you have sock yarn lying about, just get out your scale.

I used mainly the medium-weight yarn, but there are a few lightweights mixed in. When (more like if) I get done this years socks I should be able to make another that features the lightweight yarn primarily. The other thing is this looks really cool with striping sock yarn. Specifically mini-mochi from Crystal Palace, or Feliciti from Knit picks. Eventually I'd like to make one out of that as well. I suppose Noro Kuryeon would look cool as well.

My baby girl isn't quite old enough to hold this yet or play with it, but expect pictures the moment she is!

This was the first thing I knitted after i came home from the hospital, and I found that I had enough time, and inclination while getting 3 hours of sleep at a time to knit a point here and there. It made me feel like myself again. I knew having a baby would change my life, but during the change it's still very nice to experience some things that are just like they were before, to kind of ground your mind. Knitting was, and still continues to be that thing. When I sit at night knitting away for even just 10 min before having to go to bed, it is incredibly soothing. And on that note, I'm off to do a few rows before bed.

Tuesday, October 26, 2010

Cool baby knits

It's been a long time since I posted. During that time I got pregnant and had a beautiful baby girl! She is so beautiful and sweet, and being only 3 months old, she wears what I put on her, which includes lots of cute baby knits.

The Debbie Bliss ribbed sweater she is wearing was knit by my mother. I made a matching beret.

I had never knit baby things before, call me superstitious or whatever, but I figured if i had a big Rubbermaid container full of cute baby knits I would never have children. I know plenty of knitters who learned on baby stuff, makes sense, it's small and you can practice a technique and the baby will only wear it twice anyway, and doesn't care if there are a bunch of mistakes

I was excited to knit cool edgy baby stuff, like the OpArt blanket
It's cool because:
A. it's baby blanket and the perfect size
B. It can be for a girl or boy so you can start knitting early
C. the baby can actually see this pattern, and she spends time staring, it helps visual development,
D. it looks cool lying around my family room and draped on my super cool stroller.

AND have you seen the cool versions on Ravelry?!? There is this beautiful rainbow hand dyed one... it's awesome. I did the standard black and white, which is boring, but as mentioned above looks good on the stroller an in the house while being functional.

I used Berroco Comfort yarn, (Chalk and Licorice) it's very soft and squishy, it washes very well, the black did not bleed. I made a size that is halfway between the posted sizes, basically I weighed the yarn and went as big as I possibly could with the amount I bought.

The baby girl calls... more cool knits later.