Monday, December 31, 2007

Cotton is bad for socks...

But oh, so good for the soul.

My parents, at a loss with what to get me for Christmas, sent me yarn. (I love my parents.) While talking to my mom, I mentioned that I would need to start knitting cotton socks soon, since I'm planning on moving back to Arkansas, where my stash of wool socks will be pretty useless. My mom relayed this to Dad, who, of his own volition, went to a yarn store and bought me yarn. Some of it's wool, some of its cotton. Two particular balls were Schachenmayr Nomotta Crazy Cotton. 100% cotton, fingering weight. Yarn that I know my parents bought for me to turn into socks. So I am. Otherwise, they may start having doubts about whether they're buying me "good" yarn, and never send me any again. Plus, I love the colors.

The downside to cotton socks is they have no natural stretch. I already plan to string elastic through the top, so they'll stay up, and, the fit is a lot more particular than any other pair I've ever made. Working toe-up, they were getting too tight, so I unvented the toe-up heel flap. (this is nothing new, but all the patterns I saw were size 0, fingering weight, and I couldn't figure out the formula. to apply to my own socks. So I guessed.) If anyone's curious how I did it, increase every other row until you're ready to start the heel, work a short row heel over the original number of stitches, (I had 44, so the heel was over 22), ignoring those that you've increased on. Once you've finished the short row heel, continue working back and forth, and knit the last stitch of the heel onto the added stitches. I like it. It has the added benefit of creating a deeper heel, which may be more aesthetically pleasing.
Feather and fan lace pattern, adopted from Kaibashira from Magknits, without the purl rows. Size 2 needles, 44 sts.

Saturday, December 29, 2007

It may also be the season for hats...

Hat #1:
Fair-Isled argyle hat. I knit this in a night to have it ready by Christmas morning, so all of the details are a little fuzzy. (Somewhere around 95, 96 sts, needles, somewhere between 4 and 6). But it got done, at 1:30 a.m., and the recipient seems to really like it.

Hat #2:
Modified Shedir from Knitty's breast cancer surprise issue. Modified for larger needles and yarn, downsized to 96 sts on size 5 needles.

Hat #3:
Modified from the Ski Beanie from Son of Stitch 'n' Bitch. Let's see... yarn substitution, altered the stitch count, added regular ribbing at the bottom, didn't do the two-color thing, knit it in the round instead of flat... maybe this was more inspired by, rather than modified from. Anyway.
Hat #4:
Not technically a Christmas present, but done nonetheless. Celtic Beanie from Son of Stitch 'n' Bitch. For my husband. This first time I showed him the pattern, he said he didn't like it. That didn't make any sense, since he loves everything Celtic. Further questioning led to the admission that "he wasn't really sure if he didn't like the pattern, or just couldn't see past the god-awful colors it was knit in." (Really. Turquoise and lime green? What guy would wear that?) I started knitting anyway, on the theory that if he didn't like it, I would take it. I had to rip back the top once already, since I modified it for smaller yarn and needles, (incidently, if you want to do that, and knit with a DK weight, you can add another pattern repeat, but you ribbing will be slightly off) and it was too short. Whcih doesn't normally bother me, but when you're talking about a double-knit, and therefore double warm hat, it doesn't make any sense to have it not cover the ears. But it is done once more.

As an aside, this was my first time double knitting. I really like this technique, although it's really only good for hats and scarves, it's much easier to maintain the right tension than regular fair-isle... but it takes for fucking long to get through a row. So maybe not using it again any time soon.

All hats were knit out of Knitpicks Merino Style in Coal, and the reds used were the Strawberry color. The photos were all taken in front of the bathroom mirror, using the mirror to look at the picture. At least one was cropped because it made my eyebrows look like they were eating my face.

Saturday, December 22, 2007

'Tis the Season...

for handcoverings, apparently. Cleverly laid out from left to right in order of done-ness.

First up, on the far left. A pair of spiderman mittens for a friend's four year old. Knit from Knit Picks Merino Style in Strawberry and Black, size 3 needles. Basic mitten pattern, half figured out on my own, half cobbled together from other sources. Spiderman webs taken from the Yarn Harlot's blog, from about three years ago. These are completely done.

Second, a pair of mittens for a friend who gets cold hands while jogging. Since she didn't like my solution to that (stop jogging and you won't get cold hands), she gets mittens. Same yarn as above, size 4 needles. Very clever with the colors in them, I think. Pattern, my own. I don't know if you can see it with the picture, but there's a larger cable running down the center between the two-toned ones. These are also done.
Third, a slight modification of Knitty's Fetching. Again, a friend, this one with medical problems that make her cold all the time. Hopefully, these can give her a little bit more warmth while still letting her do her daily things. Same yarn as above, the Strawberry color, size 4 needles, added a bit more in length. Status: One needing ends woven in , one about halfway done. Deadline: Christmas Eve.

The last two are the ones I'm least worried about. They really don't have deadlines, as one's for my mom, the other for my husband, who should be used to me giving him gifts on the needles. The blue are the Broadstreet gloves from Knitty, minus the mitten flap. Yarn, Knitpicks Sock Memories, I believe, in the Yukon colorway (it no longer exists), leftover from my own Broadstreet Mitts. One glove is done, the other hasn't been started.

Beer gloves from Son of Stitch n' Bitch. One needing ends woven in, the other hasn't been started. More details later, when they're actually done.
By the way, I know the picture is wonky. I tried to lighten it up enough that you could at least see the cable on the beer gloves.

Thursday, December 13, 2007

How to Train Your Mate

My husband, while always being supportive of my knitting habit, takes very little interest in it. He's the sort that only needs one scarf, one hat, one pair of gloves, etc., so there's usually not much for me to knit for him. He will accept what I give him, and love it and wear it, but doesn't have a pressing need for whatever it is. Because he doesn't want stuff that often, when he does request something, there's a week-long conversation about what exactly he wants, so it can be perfect. Which I think mostly makes him regret asking me in the first place. But the dear boy is trying.

Last night, he gave me a copy of Son of Stitch 'n Bitch for my birthday. He then told me to read the section mentioned on the back about why you should never take your mate yarn shopping, then promptly took it away and started flipping through it. "I like that, I like that, I like that..." about seven times. (Side note, very clever of him to give me a gift that reduces my nagging him about what he wants.) One of the things was the "Beer Gloves," cabled fingerless gloves designed by Kurt Fausset. I commented, jokingly, that "he only liked them for the name." Him: "No, I really like the cable pattern." Catch that? Catch that? Boy knows what a cable is! And used it correctly in a sentence! So, for positive reinforcement, he got a kiss.

As a side note, I really like the book. I think it's extremely telling that my husband found seven things in there that he likes. My only complaint, aside from a very nifty sweater that is crocheted and therefore means I can't make it, is all the beer in there. There's the beer gloves, the beer pillows, and it seems like most of the photos are set in bars, with the taps right near by. Not that I object to beer, it just feels like they're trying to hard. "Look, we're a manly book! Look how manly! Beer! Beer equals manly!" So there's that.