Wednesday, October 29, 2008


So, we took a little jaunt down to Asheville, NC -- lovely area, you'd think I would have brought a camera, yes? Well, no, so you'll just have to imagine your own lovely place. One of the things we did (naturally) was tour Biltmore Estate, which bills itself as "America's Largest Home" -- although if no one lives there, is it really a home? But I digress. It's large, it's impressive, and filled with the sort of things you'd expect the ultra-wealthy of 1895 to have in their homes, but all I could think about? The only place in the entire pile that had decent light for stitching was the massive, cold, stone staircase! How did they manage? Even on a bright, sunny day with the home's lights on it was so dark -- thank goodness for today's abundant natural light and full-spectrum lighting!

The spouse came back with a nasty, brutish cold, which he graciously shared with me, so only little projects to spotlight. I did manage to finish the Selbu Modern beret, and what an attractive little hat it is. Worked in Koigu PPM/PPPM it was a nice re-introduction to 2-color knitting for me. The pattern was available free from Rosie's Yarn Cellar -- not sure if it was for a limited time only, or if it's still there, but poke around if you're interested.

I still need some work on properly controlling tension once the work leaves the circular needle and is on dpn's, but it's quite attractive nonetheless. Color me pleased! Hopefully, this is a practice run for the long marinating Starmore vest.

The car trip knitting was (no surprise) some socks -- and won't those colors brighten up a winter's day?

Sunday, October 19, 2008

Caution: Crossed Fingers Are No Substitute...

...for washing that gauge swatch! How sad to finish a project for someone else and find that it doesn't comfortably fit the recipient. And doubly sad because part of the problem was a length gauge change after washing the completed garment -- totally avoidable, and I'm smacking myself for not taking the time to pre-treat the swatch.

The pattern is the Basic Chic Hoodie from Chic Knits, and it's a good one -- no problems at all with the pattern. The yarn, however, is a bit of a different story. I used the Peruvian Highland worsted from Elann. I've used it before, with no ill effects, but this batch seemed to me to be loosely plied and more subject to pilling. So shame on me for using my unwashed swatch for gauge -- it's a hard lesson to learn, but maybe someone else out there will benefit from my mistake. For what it's worth, this would probably be a very good yarn for felting. I'm not going to suggest avoiding the yarn, because this screw up is squarely on my head, but please take the time to wash your swatch (and you do swatch, right?) so that you'll know better what type of fabric you're going to get before you invest all your time in making a garment.

So, pick yourself up, dust yourself off...

Sunday, October 5, 2008


I've finished a lot of pairs of socks, but I rarely knit them as pairs. Huh?? What I mean is, like lots of other knitters, I get just a bit bored with the project after that first sock is completed. There's even a fancy name for the condition -- second sock syndrome.

The cure -- for me -- has been to just toss aside that first sock and go on to something new. Others try knitting two socks at the same time, or playing mind games like knitting the second sock first (you may need to think about that one for a bit).

For me though 'knit and run' works fairly well. On the plus side, I don't get impatient to be done, and when a few singletons are completed I end up with several pairs -- like now, just finished 3 single socks and now have 3 pairs -- woo hoo, like magic! I know, I know, I'm simply playing a mind game of a different sort, but whatever works... Of course, if there's a plus side, there's also a minus. One of the big ones is actually remembering any pattern tweaks or changes when that second sock inspires renewed interest. If I were organized, I'd keep a notebook, but since I'm not (and don't) I have to rely on the shreds of a once-proud memory -- and feet that aren't exactly the same size anyway!

And so, a gallery of finished pairs --

Up first, Waving Lace Socks by Evelyn Clark, from "Favorite Socks" by Interweave. This one got delayed not due to lack of interest, but because I misplaced the yarn -- yes, perhaps I do have too many project bags. Yarn is fingering-weight hand-dyed merino from The Yarn Yard. I love the soft greens.

Next is a mock cabled rib knit in Apple Laine's Apple Pie sock yarn -- absolutely lovely stuff, and I think this will be a toasty, warm fiber combo (65%merino/20%kid mohair/10%nylon/5%silk).

And, at last, the partner for Rock Creek Yarn Company's (formerly) Simply Sock Yarn (now Super Soft Sock Yarn) "Koi Pond". You all know I'm a fool for orange, and this colorway is aptly named. I can see those fish flashing through the water and pond vegetation, can't you?

There's been bigger knitting going on too, but that's a project for someone else, and won't be making an appearance here until it's in the hands of its intended recipient. Fingers crossed that it will fit!