Thursday, April 27, 2006

The percent bars

Just in case anyone's interested in the percent bars on my sidebar, you can get the code here. As long as you do exactly as he says the codes will work and all you have to do is change the percent number anytime you think about it or make significant progress on whatever project you're counting down. To me it could be a real motivator to finish some UFOs I have around the house.

I think I'll only work on the ones I have bars for, that way when I finish them I can put more bars up for other UFOs and work on them. Who knows, maybe I'll finish most of my UFOs or frog them-that's what the Finish or Frog CAL is all about anyway ;)

Found a sweater pattern I like

I've been searching for a sweater (cardigan/jacket type) to crochet or knit for quite some time now and I found one today. It's Annie's Attic free pattern of the day. It's called Hand-Paint Medley and it's really pretty. I can't get the Brown Sheep Handpaint unless I order online. I have some RHSS in my stash in white that I'm going to try. My gauge swatch was 4" wide by 4½" tall-just the row gauge was off and I don't think that should give me many problems. I don't think I'm going to let that worry me, it'll just make the sweater a little longer and give me more freedom-I don't like tight clothes anyway.

I know RHSS isn't the best stuff in the world but I really can't afford anything better right now, if I like the way this turns out I might do another one in WotA when I can afford to get some, KnitPicks would be one of the only other places where I could get nice, quality yarn.

Just in case anyone misses/missed the pattern, this is what it looks like:

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I for one am glad I decided to check out the free pattern today, I know I've missed a bunch by not checking every day-will have to remind myself to do that, it only takes a minute.

Tuesday, April 25, 2006

I finished

I finished the socks I was knitting from Regia. No pics yet, the socks are at the house and I'm not, maybe tomorrow if I remember to bring them with me.

They weren't hard to do, just a basic ankle sock, I just got bored with the simple pattern and put the second one down for awhile. That's usually the basis for SSS-Second Sock Syndrome-and I wasn't going to go down there, I wanted to wear my socks and the only way to do that was to finish the second sock.

To counter that problem in the future I think I'm going to try two socks on two circulars method. I'm practicing with baby yarn and it looks like they're going well. I'm doing a toe-up method using short row toes which I had to do each toe seperately before working on both socks at once. I wasn't keen on trying the figure 8 cast on or any other that started at the toe end. I did the Japanese short row method and that seemed to work the best out of all of the short row methods. You do have to be careful when you do this because you could skip a stitch and turn your row too soon (ask me how I know). This isn't something you want to be doing while watching tv, at least until you get the toes done. The foot of the sock is plain on bottom and I'm doing the Seaweed pattern from the Seaweed Sock. I plan on doing a short row heel and doing the seaweed pattern all the way up the leg, depending on how much yarn is in the smaller ball that I'm using. I don't like socks that come up too far on my legs anyway so we'll see how tall I make them, depends on how tight they feel on my foot. I do not like a tight sock, which is why I've started making my own instead of buying them because store bought socks have all been too tight in the leg for me.

Anyway, stay tuned for pictures.

Thursday, April 20, 2006

Bonkers, or not?

Yesterday afternoon while I was playing with my slipper sock I got a wild idea. I had been watching our toy pomeranian, Furby, trying to get on the couch. Usually she'll just rear up on it near me and I'll help her up. The floors are wood so she can't get a good grip to jump. Yesterday she jumped on a pillow that gave her just enough lift and grip that she could just get herself up.

What was my idea? Well, to give you a clue-has anyone seen those infomercials about helping little dogs who can't jump to get up on couches, chairs, beds, vehicles, etc.? It hit me yesterday-I have a ton of acrylic yarn in various amounts, why couldn't I knit/crochet a small set of steps to help her get on the couch without help? I didn't have a lot of time to experiment yesterday since it was almost time for church and it was our monthly fellowship so today I'm putting my idea to the test. I've got one set on the needles and another set on a hook and we'll see how both turn out.

I'm toying with the idea of putting in a zipper so it can be washed but I haven't decided yet, zippers aren't easy to put in right.

Wednesday, April 19, 2006


A short row heel I can live with!

I just finished the Japanese short row the way Nona describes it and I have nice looking short row heels. At first it looks funny but continue doing it and it works itself all out and you have no holes to speak of.

When I go back to knitting around I do pull up a loop between needles, slip it to the left needle and k those two sts together to close any hole between heel and instep, do this for both sides then continue knitting around until you get to your toe shaping. I'm not that far yet but it won't be long, I am using RHSS and 10½ circular needles. This is going to be more of a slipper sock/bootie with the top coming up right around my ankle.

Will post a pic when I'm finished.

I'll most likely finish my other striped sock before I go on to make the other slipper, it's getting a bit warm to be wearing slippers but I can now make some for gift giving now, when I can get some yarn worth making gifts out of anyway.

Frogging and swatching

I frogged the slipper and started a swatch to see if I could get the wrapped short rows right. They seem like a lot of work and still don't look right so I tried the YO short rows and was a little happier with them although I'm not exactly sure I did them right. Today I'm going to try the Japanese short rows. From reading Nona's account of them they seem like the easiest ones to execute and she says they look the best so I'm going to give them a try.

I hope I can find a way to close the gap on short rows satisfactorally because I'd like to do heels in them and maybe even attempt the toe-up sock. That's the one Wendy designed but I just can't get the short rows to work the way she writes them, maybe I'm just not reading it right but if I can get the Japanese short row to work then I can try it with those instead. That's what we do with patterns, isn't it? We modify them to suit ourselves.

Anyway, back to this slipper sock and my experiments while the grandson is sleeping ;)

Tuesday, April 18, 2006


If a knitter/crocheter never tries new things s/he becomes stagnant and most likely will get bored with what s/he's doing. I'm trying some new things in knitting.

I'm conducting a little experiment in short rows and knitting small circumferences using the magic loop method.

I'm making a slipper sock with worsted weight acrylic yarn. I've just done the heel in short rows and they look a bit holey and I've found out I didn't wrap them right, I wasn't reading the instructions right understanding how to do it, so on the next sock I'm going to try wrapping them right. I found a nice, clear explanation here. Why am I not just frogging the slipper back? I read a knitter should keep her mistakes so she can see what she did wrong and not to do the same thing again on another project. Besides, these are just practice and will only be worn by me around the house so looks aren't top priority. It's just acrylic yarn, if it was a gift in some insanely high-priced luxury yarn then yes, I would frog it back.

My next experiment will be the Japanese short row and the YO short row. I'll see which method I like in terms of ease and looks then use that on my next pair of socks.

Do I like the magic loop method? Yes, I do, the only thing I'll have to practice is getting it done without any ladders at the joins. I might try, as one person suggested, pulling the loop through at different places periodically or I'll just try to adjust my tension. I'm not sure which way would be faster, we'll see.

I do like the short row heel, it's faster and neater looking than the traditional heel flap/gusset so if I can find a method I like and can do without holes I might switch to that style of heel with all the socks I do.

Just FTR-my gauge with RHSS and #10-1/2, 29" Boye circular is 4 sts and 6 rows to 1"

My next experiment after this will be two socks on two circulars, I already know how to do one sock on two circulars so now it's time to try two, this time with sock yarn, or the equivalent. I still need to acquire two #2 circs in different lengths-might as well get different lengths, that way I don't have too many circs in one length.

If you haven't noticed, I kind of like NonaKnits, she's funny and explains things in a way that can be understood by almost anyone. You should give her blog a read and brush up on some techniques that you might have been afraid nervous about attempting before because you didn't understand exactly how to do them. You can find several tips and techniques linked on the right sidebar.

Pick up your needles and give something new a try, you won't regret it!

Edit: OK, I frogged it back, not because of the ugly heel but because it's a little too big for my foot. If I'm going to wear them they might as well fit. I tried it on-another reason I like magic loop or two circ methods and it was just too big enough that I decided to frog back.

Monday, April 17, 2006

Knitted sock

I just finished my first knitted sock from sock yarn. It looks pretty decent for a first effort, guess that practicing with baby yarn was a big help plus the fact I'm pretty good at picking up new things.

Here's a couple of piccies:

The other one is on the needles and I'm getting ready to turn the heel so it won't be long before it joins its mate on my feet.

Thursday, April 13, 2006

Other knitting adventures

What could be more adventureous than knitting socks? Learning to knit in a totally different style than the one you learned on.

The lady who taught me to knit taught me the English method and I've used that all my life. I never really could grasp the technique of Continental-really, for years I didn't think there was any other way of knitting than the way I was doing it. After I heard about Continental I looked at books and pictures but could never grasp the concept, I guess it never clicked, until the other day when I was browsing a knitting help site that had videos of different techniques. I was looking at a video of magic loop knitting and she was doing it continental. I got to thinking that that didn't look as hard as I thought so I picked up some needles and gave it a try.

It's not really all that hard, unless you're a beginning knitter. Since I'm a crocheter it came pretty easily although I will admit that it was a bit clumsy until I found a method that worked for me. I admit it's a faster way of knitting because it eliminates a step (the throwing) and makes transitioning from knit and purl stitches much easier.

So I have nothing bad to say about English or Continental knitting. Unlike (some) hardcore believers in either method I'm not going to run up to knitters who aren't knitting the way I do and tell them they're doing it the wrong way. Neither will I tell a crocheter doing things differently than I do that it's wrong either. What's right is what works for you, not what works for me. Besides, if everyone did things exactly the same way all the time this world would be an extremely boring place to live in.

Sock adventures

I've gotten back into socks for small knit projects between larger crochet or knit projects.

As a practice I started a Seaweed Sock in some Bernat Soft Baby yarn in mint and some #3 dpn. I know, not exactly sock yarn but this is practice and if I finish the pair I'll have something to wear around the house that looks pretty nice. The first one is down to the foot, I've gotten past the heel flap with no problems, had to frog the heel shaping twice before I got it right and the gusset shaping was no problems. We'll see how the toe shaping goes when I get to it.

I have started another pair of socks in actual sock yarn. I splurged and went to my LYS and bought some Regia 4 in color #5759, a blue-gray, gray, white self-striping yarn. I'm doing a basic sock, using #2 dpn, not really following any pattern (I know how to do all the basic shaping) and letting the stripes be the focus. When I move onto patterned socks I'll probably get some solid sock yarn instead and not at my LYS, I think I'm going to start getting all my sock yarn from Knitpicks or Elann because the prices they have for sock yarn of the same wool/nylon content I'm using are about half of what I can get it for at my LYS or at Herrschner's or any other craft place or site. At Knitpicks, if I get $40 or more worth of stuff I can also get free shipping, that's a lot of socks. Maybe I can scare up a free code # too so maybe I wouldn't have to get that much at one time but who wouldn't want to have enough yarn to make 9 pairs of socks, that would only be app. $54 and you'd have enough socks to last awhile or give as gifts or you could make hats, gloves or mittens if you got tired of socks. The other wools there are also very reasonably priced so when I get ready to try a felted project I'm getting some of their WotA (Wool of the Andes) yarn, I've heard mostly nothing but good things about all of Knitpicks or Elann's stuff, enough to give them a try anyway.

Oh, I'll post pics of my finished socks when they're done.

One other thing, switching between #2 and #3 dpn is an adventure in itself ;)

Thursday, April 06, 2006

Ok, I'm a liar

But then, aren't all us yarnworkers liars? We keep saying we won't start new projects until we finish some old ones. I said I wasn't going to start anything big until I finished my blue shawl. Well, I lied. I started a Serafina in the JSRB Green and let me tell you it's stunning so far. The colors blend so nicely into one another and it's not that bad to crochet with, similar to Bernat Softee Baby only I don't snag the JoAnn's like I did the Bernat. I have a skirt that's almost the same color as one of the medium greens in the JoAnn's and this shawl will complement it very well.

It's not like it's a really big, tedius project, I should be done with it soon, I'll just trade off working on both JoAnn shawls until they're both done.

Shawls are really nice

Even if they go out of style I'll probably continue to use one. Personally I think they're one of those classic items of clothing that never really completely goes out of style.

I'm wearing one right now because the computer I'm using has a window a/c right behind it and the air is pretty chilly. The shawl keeps most of it off me and makes working/playing in front of the computer much better. It's the Leftover Serafina I made awhile back and I still have a couple more ends to work in. A little cool air is getting past the holes and on my bare arms but not enough to be uncomfortable. Sitting here without the shawl on was much more uncomfortable but if I shut the a/c off then the house will get too warm. Catch-22, huh? I can't move the computer because it isn't my house but at least I had left the shawl here so I have it to wear.

And yes, the vents are pointed up but some air is coming out from under them and that is what's cold.

I think I'm close to halfway finished with Peace, Be Still.

Tuesday, April 04, 2006

Sock randomness

Before I started crocheting or knitting socks (about a year or so ago) I thought, like a lot of you who have never tried them yourselves, that it was too complicated to do but they really aren't. You look at even a basic pattern and think "I could never do that." That's exactly what I thought until I jumped right in and started making socks. I would wonder why all that stuff about heels, turning and gussets? There's a method to all that, actually.

The cuff/ankle portion is pretty straightforward-a stretchy tube, then comes the heel flap. That's just the part of the sock that goes from ankle to the bottom of your foot along your Achilles tendon. Turning it brings it around underneath your foot. Gussets-I have no idea why they're called that-just gets your stitches back to the original number you had on your needles/hook to begin with and finish shaping for the foot part then you're back to a stretchy tube again until you reach where your toes start. The toe decreases shape the sock to the ends of your feet so you don't have any leftover sock to bunch up in your shoe when you put them on.

Really, once you jump in and try it isn't all that scary. Sure, you'll mess up but didn't you mess up a lot when you were first learning to knit or crochet? Don't knock it unless you've tried it so much that it really is beyond you and I'd have to believe that would not happen all that often-about as often as a frog gets a haircut, really.

So what brought this on? Beats me, it was just something I was thinking about while I was crocheting on a pair of socks. Sure, I'm just using RH Soft Baby yarn but they're still socks. I don't wear socks that much as the weather warms up but this is the perfect time of year to be making them so I can have them for when the weather cools back off. Perhaps I'll even have been able to afford wool sock yarn for a few pairs by then. Yes, wool, it's actually a lot softer than you think it is, only a few kinds are scratchy and they don't use that for sock yarn. If you get the superwash wool/nylon sock yarn they're even machine washable so no hand washing.

So, all you sock virgins out there get your hooks/needles out and give it a try ;)

Pretty birthday prezzie

My birthday isn't until tomorrow but the girl we have as an 'adopted' teen at church gave me a pretty bag Sunday night. It's big enough to hold several projects and has an inside pocket to hold small stuff. Pretty soon I'll have a bag for all the projects I have going without having to use either W-M bags or just swapping out projects in the bags I have. Anyway, any time I see a big bag I like, and I have the money, I'll usually get it cause we yarn workers never have too many big bags, right?

Anyway, here it is, isn't it pretty? I'm already using it.

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