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Monday, January 30, 2006

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First Socks of the Year -- DONE

I finished my Log Cabin Socks recently, and here they are, modelled by Daughter#1. I knit these for myself, but they appear to fit her -- although they are somewhat loose in the ankle. She must have big feet for a 9-year old, because they are not tight on me. However, I haven't washed them yet, so we'll see -- she may end up with them after all.

Anyway, here are the specs:

Log Cabin Socks from Handknit Holidays
Rowan Cork (95% merino wool, 5% nylon) in color 045 (Snuggle), about 2.5 skeins
US6 DPNs (Susan Bates aluminum -- I needed slippery ndls for these tight stitches)
The Cork label recommends a gauge of 14st=4" (on a US11), but this pattern calls for it to be knit at 24sts=4" for the women's size. I found it impossible to obtain this tiny gauge no matter what size needle I used, and I am generally a TIGHT knitter. Instead, since I have large-ish ankles, I decided to go with the directions for the men's size (which was about the gauge I was getting anyway, 20st=4").
Picked up 12 st (inst of 11) on each side of heel flap (to help prevent the dreaded gap at the gusset corner). Also, since I was making the large size but only wanted a large ankle and a normal foot, I decreased until I had 24 sts left on the sole (inst of 28).

The pattern has you knit the toe in stockinette, but in the book the toe looks too floppy (because of the change in gauge from the cable part). So, instead I knit the toe part in ribbing -- continuing the pattern but without the cables. On the first foot (shown on the right) I continued the cable column of stitches as stockinette -- but it got puffy, so I dropped the middle 2 stitches back on one of the cables and purled them (for a more ribbed effect). I was too lazy to do the same for the other cable section because I would have had to undo my decreases. On the second sock, I finished both cables that way.

I also made the decreases for the toe in such a way as to make them more anatomically correct (at least for me and my large big toes). This does make one sock a 'dedicated' left sock and the other a 'dedicated' right, but they fit me sooo much better that way. I now make all of the socks I knit for myself this way. I will post instructions for these toe decreases if anyone is interested.
I am NOT a big fan of this yarn -- at least not when knit at this ridiculous gauge. My fingers were sore from knitting so tightly, especially with the cables. Also, I don't know WHY I knit these socks in a HANDWASH ONLY yarn. WHAT was I thinking? I think I got caught up in all of the excitement over these socks over at the Handknit Holidays Knitalong (and the fact that Cork was on sale at WEBS at the time).

Also, I had promised myself to not knit any more socks out of non-sock yarn, and these only have 5% nylon which doesn't quite cut it. I'm sure they will wear out instantly and I will be annoyed at the wasted effort. Sigh.

On a more postive note, the pattern is pretty cool, and they do fit well. I may make them again, but with a different yarn -- something much thinner. Although then I'd have to adjust the pattern for the new gauge.

Best of all, I get to count these socks as my January socks for the Sock-A-Month Knitalong and they up my Count Your Socks total to 30 overall. Now to finish those Jaywalkers...


Friday, January 27, 2006

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She caught me...

Well, Sister#2 finally checked out my blog and discovered that I am knitting lots of things OTHER THAN the cloche-style hat that I had promised her over Christmas. OK, OK, it's getting moved up in the sidebar from "Potential Projects" into the current projects section. [Let's just hope my dad doesn't check my blog for the status of his argyle socks.]

Here is the hat she has selected. It's the Herringbone Cloche from Vogue Knitting Hats & Caps Two. It calls for Kersti Merino Crepe, but Sister#2 wants it in a plum color and I don't think that yarn comes in plum (some multi-colored purples, but no plum). Soooo, I'll have to look for other plum-colored options in the 22st=4" range.

Here's what I came up with:

It's hard to tell just by the online photos whether these colors are more grape (bad) or plum (good). If you have any experience with any of these yarns, leave me a comment. By the way, this doesn't count as me increasing stash cuz SHE'S supposed to buy it. I'm just the knitter. So no resolutions broken here.

Got my the Feb-Apr issue of Cast On magazine yesterday -- yuck, ick, ugh. And what is not yuck, ick, ugh is so very ho hum. Why, oh why, do I subscribe to this magazine? For the technical articles -- bah! Even those are not worth it anymore. The best thing in the magazine is this bicycle seat cover. Sigh.

In sock news, I have finally finished my Log Cabin Socks. I just have to weave in the ends. I have mixed feelings about them. Will post pics and details tomorrow.


Wednesday, January 25, 2006

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I love my Tivo

So, I finally plop myself down on the couch last night after a some late-night blogging, to watch some Daily Show or whatnot and get some knitting done. I turn on my Tivo to check what I've got to watch and I am greeted with a big blue screen. Sigh. This usually means that my network cable has come unplugged or some such irritation, but THIS TIME it was a notice about a wonderful new Tivo update that I had just received. Turns out I now have the ability to listen to podcasts directly through my Tivo. Don't have to download through the computer or anything -- just type in the feed url and it plays. Woooo-hoo! Now I can be all comfy on my couch while I listen to Cast On and Knitcast. Yay, for Tivo. What a GREAT product. Love those surprise updates.

OK, enough with the product endorsements. I have been making slow but steady progress on my Log Cabin Socks. Here is the finished one. I just finished the heel flap of the second. Progress is slow on the second because I haven't been paying attention, and thus have to keep ripping out rows where I have knit too far (on the ankle and again on the heel). Anyway, the end is in sight.

Here's a shot of back of the ankle and the heel. These socks are so thick they practically stand up by themselves. But I think the cabling down the back is very cool. Can't wait to wear these. I'm sure they will be super warm.

By the way, I just joined Team Boston for the Knitting Olympics. Check it out if you live within 1 hour of Boston and are participating in The Yarn Harlot's Knitting Olympics.
I had better step up my training program though. Look what other team members are doing to prepare for the event. Go team!


Tuesday, January 24, 2006

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Lookie what I got

I was in New Hampshire this past weekend visiting my mother, and since I was in the general vicinity I just had to visit Patternworks, and you know what THAT means... Goodbye, resolutions. Hello, yarn.

However, I did have a very good reason for breaking my resolution against buying more yarn. I'm competing in an Olympic event! Yes, it's the 2006 Knitting Olympics, hosted by Yarn Harlot.

I have decided to make Rogue for my main event. The yarn I bought for it is Bartlettyarns 2-ply 100% wool in the color called Scotia. I just LOVE this color. The pic does not quite do it justice -- it's darker in person.

The yarn is a bit rough, but I was thinking that a more rugged yarn might work for a hoodie like Rogue. I did a little swatch to check gauge (right on with a US7) and to check that the fleckiness of the yarn doesn't overwhelm the cable pattern. I think it might be OK, but I'm not sure. Anyone have any experience with this yarn or care to comment about how well cables show up in a flecky yarn? Looking for some input here...

According to the official rules of the Knitting Olympics, I'm allowed to swatch, but I can't actually cast on until the start of the Winter Olympics on Feb 10. So I have some time before I need to make a final yarn decision.

Check out the other lovely items I got for myself while at Patternworks -- a new knitting bag and a matching circular needle case. Oh, and the 4th Barb Walker book at half price. Now I will no longer be toting my projects around in a dirty old canvas bag.


Monday, January 23, 2006

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Free Zigzag Lace Scarf Pattern

I wrote up the pattern for the red lace scarf I recently made with Araucania Nature Wool Chunky. I thought I would share it with you. The lace pattern is my variation of one I found in Beautiful Knitting Patterns by Gisela Klopper. It is also somewhat similar to the Flemish Block Lace pattern in Barbara Walker's A Second Treasury of Knitting Patterns.
Here it is. Enjoy!

Zigzag Lace Scarf

lace scarf


About 7.5" wide and 72" long (after blocking).


2 skeins Araucania Nature Wool Chunky (100% wool; 131yd/120m per 100g hank), color: 104, dark red


US #10 (6mm)


Tapestry needle


Not critical, but mine was approximately 15-16 sts = 4" in stockinette stitch


This scarf is worked in two identical sections, from the ends to the center back, where the two sections are grafted together. If you want to avoid grafting, just repeat the lace pattern to make the scarf as long as you want, then end with 4 rows of seed stitch and cast off loosely.


(Make two)
CO 29 sts.
Row 1 (RS):k1, [p1, k1] repeat to end of row.
Rows 2-4:Repeat row 1.
Begin lace pattern, following either the written instructions or the chart.

Lace Pattern Written Instructions

Row 1 (RS):k1, p1, k2tog, yo, k, [yo, ssk, k5, k2tog, yo, k] twice, yo, ssk, p, k.
Row 2 (and all even rows):k1, p to last st, k1.
Row 3:k1, p1, k3, [k1, yo, ssk, k3, k2tog, yo, k2] twice, k2, p1, k1.
Row 5:k1, p1, k3, [k2, yo, ssk, k1, k2tog, yo, k3] twice, k2, p1, k1.
Row 7:k1, p1, k3, [k2tog, yo, k1, yo, ssk, k5] twice, k2tog, yo, p1, k1.
Row 9:k1, p1, k2, k2tog, [yo, k3, yo, ssk, k3, k2tog] twice, yo, k1, p1, k1.
Row 11:k1, p1, k1, k2tog, yo, [k5, yo, ssk, k1, k2tog, yo] twice, k2, p1, k1.
Row 12:k1, p to last st, k1.

Lace Pattern Chart

lace chart
Complete rows 1-12 of the lace pattern a total of 13 and a half times, ending with row 6.
Final row (a variation of row 7 of the lace pattern):k1, p1, k3, [k3, yo, ssk, k5] twice, k2, p1, k1.
Do NOT bind off. Place these stitches on a holder or a piece of scrap yarn.
Cast on 29 sts and knit the second half of the scarf exactly as the first half.


Graft the two halves of the scarf together using kitchener stitch. Weave in loose ends. Wash in cool water and block by pinning to a flat surface. Let dry.

Pattern & images © 2006 Tamara Stone-Snyder.
May be distributed freely for personal use only. Cannot be reprinted on the web or otherwise without permission.


Thursday, January 19, 2006

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Back to some actual knitting content

I've been spending so much time tweaking the old template that I have not been getting much knitting done over the past few days.

However, I did make some progress on the Log Cabin Socks. I have 1 sock complete, waiting to be kitchenered. Working on the ankle of the second. I'm not really liking the way the cables look at the point where they move from one 'column' to the other - there is a weird bumpy area there. I'm going to play with another way to do that on the second sock. Yeah, the socks won't match, but these are for me so no big deal.

Here is the red Araucania scarf that I finished this past weekend. This is the one I started back here.

This was a fun project:  fast to knit because of the chunky yarn, interesting stitch pattern that didn't require too much concentration, and subtle color variation in the yarn to give it a hint of pizzazz. Very satisfying. And I think the gift was well received, which does make one feel quite "warm and cozy", as some would say.

By the way, I posted this picture using the Hello BloggerBot. It seems to give you more control over uploading photos than uploading through Blogger. For instance, you can pick the size that images are resized to. I'll have to mess with it some more though before I know if I prefer this method or not.


Monday, January 16, 2006

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More technical difficulties

I just realized last night that my attempt at a 3-column template looked totally awful at 800x600 resolution (big sigh...). The middle column got shoved to the bottom and it generally was a hard-to-read mess. My display is set to 1280x1024 so it was quite a shock to see how nothing fit in the lower resolutions.

Well, I think I have fixed it now (fingers crossed). MOST pages/posts should now appear in the 3-column format. However, some of my older posts have pictures that are too big to display in that format -- they should show up with the far right column shoved to the bottom.

By the way, has anyone else noticed how totally CRAPTACULAR blogger's template preview mode is? What a piece of junk. Not sure why I bother using it, considering everything looks totally different once it is published.

On a brighter note, what do you think of the new color scheme and the new banner? It's a close-up of that Noro hat I made. Try to ignore the weird little characters on the far right side of the banner. I'm still working on getting that to display properly. Geez, who knew there was so much involved in setting up a template...I'm exhausted. I spent so much time on this I didn't even get to knit today -- bummer.

I found this the other day: Personality Project

It's an online personality test, supposedly being conducted by Northwestern University. It was kind of fun. Anyway, here are my results:

click to enlarge Check out my personality profile!


Thursday, January 12, 2006

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I'm a Joiner

Just joined the Count Your Socks knitalong. It sounds like fun. Check it out if you like to make socks but need some inspiration to get them finished. I started knitting in Feb of 2003, and since then I've knit 29 pairs. Of those, 10 pairs have been for me. However, I need to crank out a few more pairs for myself because several of my early socks have worn through in the heel and the ball of the foot. I used to knit socks with merino wool and wonder why they didn't last (duh). I darned some of them, but even the darning wore out. I learned my lesson after the first ten socks or so, and now I use only sock yarn.

I've got 4 more pairs of socks in progress (some of which are more "in progress" than others). Here is the rundown:

  • Jaywalker Socks in Plymouth Sockotta

  • Status = Inactive, abandoned for Christmas gift knitting, to be picked up soon.

    Progress = About halfway through the first ankle.

  • Log Cabin socks (from Handknit Holidays) in Rowan Cork

  • Status = Active

    Progress = Having issues with sizing. Completed the ankle of the woman's size, but the cables made the ankles rather tight. I switched to using bigger ndls (US6) and started making the man's size instead. I'm about halfway through the ankle on that (and now it may be too loose, sigh... this is how projects get abandoned). Oh, and yeah, I realize this is not sock yarn, but they are so cute in the book I couldn't resist. I'll have to reinforce the bottom of the foot somehow...

  • Argyle socks for my Dad (my stupid pattern, or lack thereof)

  • Status = Sick of them. This is my 4th attempt at an ankle that fits properly - don't ask.

    Progress = uggh

  • Mountain Colors Bearfoot socks

  • Status = Inactive.

    Progress = Was having sizing issues again due to poor choice of needle size. Need to rip and start over (sigh)

    You might think that having made so many pairs of socks I would not be having so many sizing issues. Well, you would be wrong. Maybe I am just overly picky about sock fit -- but no one likes a floppy sock.

    Update on the stupid 3-column template: I think I finally got it working. Leave me a comment if the columns appear to overlap on your computer (especially when you resize the window). Thanks.


    Sunday, January 08, 2006

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    Stupid 3-column template

    Uuuuuuuuggggggggggghhhhhhhhhh! I am annoyed. Can't seem to get this 3-column template to work properly. It appears fine in the preview, but not once it is published. Stupid, stupid, stupid. I have wasted FAR too much time trying to fix this. I give up for tonight. I need to go knit and de-stress.

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    Saturday, January 07, 2006

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    Blocking Pin Review & Candy Cane Hats

    The new issue of MagKnits is up and I'm a little bummed that it is mostly stuff for babies, since I have no babies for whom to knit (kids, yes; babies, no). I do really like this Medusa hat though. I'll have to find some relative who wants one, as I am not really a hat-wearing person.

    I finished knitting the red scarf today. I knit it in two halves and will be grafting the halves together tomorrow hopefully. It's blocking now. Pics tomorrow.

    Speaking of blocking, I got to use my new blocking pins that Santa brought me in my stocking. They are the Clover ones with the double pins and the pink and blue tops. I think these are the overpriced ones they were selling in that store that had never heard of blocking your knitting. [Price is no object to Santa, apparently.]

    Well, I'm sorry to report that these pins suck royally. Or, at least, they do with my blocking board (which is the big gray one they sell at Patternworks). These Clover pins bend way too easily and are hard to push in. I finally got myself to AC Moore this evening and purchased some good old T-pins (40 for a whole $2.59 -- whatta bargain). Why did I not think of looking in the sewing aisle earlier? Especially when certain people even suggested I go to a fabric store. Must have been my unnatural fear of fabric stores. That and the fact that I don't know where any are. Anyway, I'm happy now -- I bought three boxes of pins. So now I can go super-anal and pin every inch of whatever I block. [You know I will.]

    Went to see King Kong today -- great movie. Tried knitting while watching, but that was kind of a bust. Got about two inches of the wrist warmers I'm working on done, but then I got all messed up and there were too many dark scenes to sort it out. Anyway, there was a lot of action that needed to be concentrated upon -- not a good knitting movie.

    Well, I will leave you with a picture of a hat I made as a Christmas gift for my niece. Here are the details:

    Pattern: Candy Cane Hat from Handknit Holidays (love that book)

    Yarn: Cascade 220

    Needles: US 7

    Mods: I only did a nubbin at the top, instead of the long knotted umbilical cord sort of thing in the pattern. My 16-yr-old half brother commented that this made it look like a breast, but he is a perv, so I am ignoring him. I think it's cute. I also added the braid sort of thing at the bottom of the stripes. This is done by purling while alternating colors and stranding the unused color on the right side so it forms little slanting lines. I can't find my notes, but it looks like I did two rows of this, stranding the colors the opposite way in the 2nd row. This is a cool technique I learned at a great Annie Modesitt class at Webs a couple of months ago.

    Notes: This hat was fun to make and I love the way it came out. If any friend/relative wants one, let me know -- I'd be glad to make another.

    In fact, I liked it so much I already have made a variation of it for my daughter. Here I used up some old Cascade 220 remnants I had lying around. I ran out of the navy blue yarn halfway through and had to switch to gray for the top of the hat. This didn't turn out so great because the gray doesn't have enough contrast with the heathery blue so you can't really see the swirl on the top. But, hey, I used up leftover yarn, and that was the goal. I also added a little checkerboard strip to the bottom, surrounded by more of those braid things.

    This was the very first pompom I have ever made. Not sure I enjoy making those. I did learn that more yarn is better when it comes to pompoms.


    Thursday, January 05, 2006

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    What's a new year without resolutions? Here are mine: 1. Start exercising regularly again. Over the past few months, I've started to revert to my sloth-like ways and soon I will no longer fit into my clothes -- I guess that's a good incentive. 2. Use up a significant portion of my stash (so I can replace it with more yarn, of course). Attempt to buy less yarn (unless it's a really good deal...) until stash is appropriately reduced. 3. Finish (or rip if I don't plan to ever finish) my multudinous WIPs. I'm scared to even count how many projects I have lying around that are unfinished. I'm guessing it's over twenty... Yes, I'm fickle. 4. Try to post more regularly and organize my FO's into a lovely little archive.

    Last night I ripped out a partial scarf I had started and promptly abandoned a month or so ago. Instead, I reclaimed the yarn for a new scarf. I believe this satisfies resolutions #2 and #3 simultaneously. And I did actually ride the stationary bike yesterday -- look at me go on those resolutions.

    The yarn is Araucania Nature Wool Chunky. The lace pattern is from the book Beautiful Knitting Patterns. I only modified it slightly (to replace the purls on the right side with knits). I only have 2 balls of this stuff and I'm hoping it's enough for a short scarf. If it works out it will be a late Xmas present for my husband's aunt at our gift exchange on Jan 15.

    There are a couple of other projects I need to have done by then. Pics of those tomorrow...

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    Tuesday, January 03, 2006

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    I have no energy to post today. Still recovering from mad Xmas/New Year's rush.

    Apparently I only have energy to catch up on some blog reading and take silly quizzes. Like this one. Seems about right.

    Fit fit fits.
    You will perish of fits. Repeat this to yourself:
    "Things can work out even if I don't get
    my way. Things can work out even...."

    What horrible Edward Gorey Death will you die?
    brought to you by Quizilla

    And this one. Which, unfortunately, is also quite accurate (with regard to the hair color...sigh).

    Your Hair Should Be White
    Classy, stylish, and eloquent.
    You've got a way about you that floors everyone you meet.