Wednesday, August 27, 2008

"It's a beautiful day in the neighborhood..."

Sunny skies, balmy breezes, puffy clouds? No, RAIN -- glorious, blessed rain! We've had no moisture in August until now, and the parched red clay soil was beginning to crack. You can almost hear it sighing with relief -- here's hoping there is more in store.

On the knitting front, one toe-up, gusseted sock is done, and here's what I've learned: 1)Although a 200 yard skein of fingering weight yarn is slightly less than I usually work with, it is entirely sufficient for socks with the leg length I prefer, and the foot length I need. Ergo, no need to knit toe up again for myself (well, except for the mate to this one!) unless I want to -- which I probably don't. Longer or wider socks, even less yardage -- OK, I'll do it then, but I have discovered that I really prefer knitting top down. The whole time I was knitting this I felt like I was twirling backwards!
2)It is possible to have a bound off edge that is stretchy enough to pull over my high-arched foot and feel comfortable around the leg.
I used this one: Work first two stitches in pattern. *Return these two stitches to the left needle, then knit them together through the back loop. Work the next stitch in pattern, and then repeat from the *. The last stitch leaves a bit higher gap, so take care in attaching it to the beginning when you're done, but there you have it. You'll notice in the photo (click for bigger, if needed) that the top of the sock is ruffled looking when off the foot. This disappears when worn, but may not be due to the bind off alone. I also worked the final few rows (4?) of the leg in garter stitch. And with bigger needles. Yes I know -- excessive, but then I'm a "belt and suspenders" kind of a girl. ("Belt and braces" to UK speakers, although maybe that's not a familiar colloquial expression for you anyway.) At any rate, it worked for me, although if I do another pair I'll try it without the garter stitch, but still using larger needles.

So, I'm calling exercise in toe-up a success.* Now, what's the next challenge?
*Fear not, that second sock will get knit at some point. We will leave no sock behind -- sometimes it just takes a while!

Monday, August 11, 2008

Create-Your-Own Clever Post Title

This has actually been finished for a while, but I tend to procrastinate about sewing on buttons. The spouse never understands how I can spend hours in the sewing room and yet never get around to replacing his shirt buttons, but what can I say? -- I don't like sewing on buttons.

I think I've mentioned the basics before, but here's the specs: Pattern from a Japanese knit/crochet book (Let's Knit Spring/Summer 2008), up-sized (in width) by using a slighter heavier yarn (Elann Camila). Fewer pattern repeats needed for the length. Set-in sleeves, tunic length with vent opening at bottom sides. I made a wider neckband than called for and left off the final row of crab stitch (reverse sc) from the edging. Other than that, I hewed to the pattern charts. I absolutely love the attention to detail in Japanese patterns -- such as the slanted shoulder shaping (done with stitches of varying heights). All in all, I'm pleased with this -- wonder if I'll be able to wear it this season, or will it have to wait for the spring?

Even though we have weeks of hot weather ahead thoughts are turning to autumn knits. I'm thinking of Véronik Avery's cardigan in Vogue Knitting (blanking on the name -- Forestry maybe?) -- love the collar shaping. Or maybe it's time to crank up the Falkenberg Express? Time will tell!

Sunday, August 10, 2008

Topsy-turvy toes

So, a knitter walks into a Panera...

Nope, not the start of a joke, but rather what I did a couple of weeks ago -- I finally got around to attending a Knit Night at a local restaurant. I have really missed the camaraderie of a knitting group since moving and leaving my former knitting guild behind, but somehow never made it to the local S&B. It was a nice change to attend a purely social group, although the restaurant setting seemed a bit odd at first. I hope to be able to go again, but it's fairly far away, and with gas prices as they are...

In any event, the fun part of a knitting get together is seeing what everyone is working on. I noticed one knitter working on socks in a yarn I hadn't heard of before -- Rock Creek Yarn. The colors were fabulous, so naturally when I got home I did a little Internet search, which lead me to their Simply Sock yarn in the Koi Pond colorway.

When the yarn arrived, I noticed it has a bit less yardage than the sock yarns I've been using lately. Seemed like a sign that I needed to finally try a toe-up sock, to maximize yardage. I've shied away from that method in the past, figuring that my usual top down socks worked well, so why tamper with success? But a little change can be a good thing, so I started a pair of Fingering weight Toe-Up Gusset Heel Socks -- a free pattern available from Wendy Knits. Just click on the link at the top of her home page for a very nice selection of patterns.

So far they seem to be working out just fine. The true test of a good fit will come when I actually wear them, but I'm optimistic. And here's the heel:

I'm not always a big fan of color flashing and striping, but somehow it seems to work with this combination. Can't you just picture a koi swimming through the pond plants?

Monday, August 4, 2008

County Fair

Once again it's county fair time, and this year I decided to enter four items -- an original design crochet cardigan, a crocheted hat (also my own pattern), a knitted shawl (Leaf Lace by Evelyn Clark) and a knitted beret (Beret Gaufre, by Véronik Avery). I was fortunate enough to come home with four ribbons -- three firsts, and a second for the Leaf Lace shawl. This is just the second year I've done this, and it's a bit of fun -- I highly recommend it for those of you who have the opportunity.

For those who may be looking for a quick, attractive, little knitted project, the pattern for Beret Gaufre is available on Véronik's site -- click on "shop" to find it.

And abruptly changing subjects, I was coming in from the back deck this morning and caught a glimpse of pink and yellow. I thought someone had stuck a bit of candy on the wall, but it turned out to be this:(click for bigger!)

I've never seen a moth that color; hopefully I'll be able to research it and attach a name to it, but I thought it was pretty enough to share.

Editted to add: apparently it's a Rosy Maple Moth (dryocampa rubicunda) -- thank you, Google!