Friday, November 28, 2008

Insane Love

I'll admit it. I've succumbed to knitting with the masses. Sometimes knitting with the masses, or knitting a popular pattern is loads of fun! Who am I kidding? I love knitting with the masses. Peer pressure does wonders for my startitis problems. Sigh.
It's really all HER fault. She's the one who posted all the pretty pictures of her scarf on her famous blog. She vamped up the popularity of these scarves again, first made popular by Brooklyn Tweed.
Now, I find myself knitting a 1x1 ribbed scarf (PS, did I mention that when I'm knitting socks, I pretty much loathe the 1x1 ribbing of the sock), and loving every minute of it. It's addictive. It's probably sinful, how much I love knitting this scarf. The changing colors of the stripes keep me entertained for hours. The only downside of this scarf is that I'm not a continental knitter, and a lot of yarn throwing goes on.

PS #1 - Did I mention that I've ordered more Noro Silk Garden to knit some more of these beauties? Yesterday, everyone at my in-laws house stated they wanted one for Christmas. Not this year, I explained. But I may take them up on the idea for next year, as I do not see my love for these scarves (and their knitting appeal) waning any time soon.

PS #2 - I know this post was supposed to be about cowls. I'm still knitting them, but I couldn't wait to show you this scarf. And if you find yourself digging through your stash, or ordering some Noro Silk Garden, don't say I didn't warn you!

Happy Holidays! Get out those one-skein books for some final quick Christmas knitting. Less than a month left to go!

Saturday, November 22, 2008

The First Time

I have accomplished it! I have knit my first pair of toe-up socks! I don't know why I was so wary about accomplishing this milestone in knitting. It was pretty straightforward. I knit a simple 2x2 ribbing so that I could concentrate on the construction of the sock itself.

The toe was remarkably simple. I'm not sure what cast-on method I used, but I learned it at the LYS. Basically you hold both needles (I knit my socks via ML method) as you would for a long tail cast-on. I place my needles beside each other, and made one of them a little higher in height. I think I wound around my bottom needle first (or you could use a slip knot), and then just transferred the cast-on to the upper needle, and cast-on for the long tail method as I normally would, alternating between needles being the only difference. It was amazingly easy, and I promptly scolded myself for never trying this method before this knit.

The foot of the sock seemed to breeze by, and before I knew it, I was at the heel. As usual, expecting the worst, my heart began to beat faster, my palms became a bit sweaty, as I glanced and reread the pattern. I am a bit anal (as if you couldn't figure this out by reading the blog) about making mistakes. So before knitting the heel, I wrote the pattern out long-hand, just to make the knitting easier. It was very straightforward, and once I wrapped my head around the P3 tog TBL, I was soaring along! My pattern for short row heels doesn't require any wrapping and twisting, which, in itself, seems confusing to me, although I may try to conquer that fear in the near future. The first heel went remarkably well, as did the second.
And I marveled at how I did not need to pick up any stitches after knitting the heel, as you would with a top-down sock.

Finally, I did a new bind-off as well. My first bind-off was too tight (can you imagine?). I quickly researched bind-off methods, and decided on Elizabeth Zimmerman's sewn bind-off. Here's another new skill that works like a charm. It gives just enough stretch to wear the garment on the appropriate body part, without making the bind-off too loose!

So here's the final product, my first-toe up socks.
Started October 2008, Finished November 2008
US #2 ML Harmony Wood needles (40 in) from Knit Picks (a gift from Morticcia). PS - love them!
Yarn: Scarlet Fleece in the Olives and Pimento Colorway, no major pooling - YEAH!
Pattern: 2x2 rib, 56 stitches, generic toe-up pattern

I couldn't be more pleased! This yarn is not the softest I've ever knit, but the fabric that it knits into is altogether lovely. It has 20% Nylon, which I think must be important in toe-up socks. My concern with this heel construction is that it might wear poorly, not having that nice reinforced heel flap as top-down construction does. Anyone want to weigh in on this factor?
Next post, maybe I'll feature the cowls that have been piling up for Christmas giving!
PS - yesterday we got between 4-6 inches of snow, and it was lovely, even if I did have to drive in it!

Monday, November 3, 2008

Phinally, some FO's!

I'm back. However, I have too much content to cram into one blog post. It's been very busy this past month. I have been doing a fair amount of knitting, but the excitement to photograph and publish blog posts is waning. I cannot offer an explanation for this, but I've sensed that several people are suffering from this particular malady.
The title of this post is in honor of the Philadelphia Phillies, and their amazing win in the World Series. My eldest and I watched with bated breath until the last pitch was thrown. What an exciting end to the game! YEAH PHILLIES! And the pun is, "Phinally, a World Series Championship, the first since 1980!" The funny thing is that I remember watching that World Series in 1980!
Okay, onto some knitting content....

These particular socks have been finished for weeks. I can't even use the "no good weather for photography excuse," as my photography always stinks. What do you expect with an old Kodak digital camera? It was good in its time, but I don't have the super mega pixels that my DH's camera boasts.
Reenie's Socks
Start - ? August 2008
Finished - early October 2008
Yarn: Lorna's Laces Shepherd Sport
Pattern: - My own (by accident of reading the pattern incorrectly), a 3x1 rib combo.
Lorna's has incredibly great yardage, softens with washing/blocking, and generally creates a nice sock. The colorways are usually pretty nice.

Kate's scarf:
This particular scarf has been on the needles since August of 2008. I remember just starting it, when we visited Boston Children's Hospital (and Morticcia). I also finished it at least two weeks ago, and have started another one in Wollmeise. YUM!
I've also switched needles, from Clover Bamboo to Knit Picks straights. WOW - you have got to get yourself a pair of these needles, or maybe the whole set that they offer! I'm currently using the Harmony Straights. The point of the needle is just right for knitting the K2together stitches. The glide is smooth and perfect, making them truly a really pleasure to knit anything with, let alone the prized Wollmeise.
Kate's Scarf Stats:
Started - August 2008
Finished - October 2008
Yarn: Yarn Pirate Merino/Tencel, fingering weight
Pattern: Wendy Johnson's Feather and Fan (easy, peasy).
Mods: None - I knit until the yarn was nearly gone. I must admit to loving the merino/tencel yarn combos. I'm not sure how they would wear for knitting socks, but they make lovely scarves. Sometimes the yarn was a bit splitty, but I didn't knit this scarf with the new Knit Picks Harmony either. I'm interested in starting another merino/tencel scarf after the Wollmeise is done. This project is so easy, it is usually my take-along project.

This scarf, being a bit amiable in nature, sometimes becomes prideful, and poses itself in the most unflattering positions on my chair.

I'm working on some new projects for your viewing pleasure (well, actually they are for my knitting pleasure, but you will probably see them in progress or as finished objects). I'm almost finished with my first toe-up sock. I've also caught some sort of disease that has me looking at cowls and digging through my stash for my meager offerings of Malabrigo to knit said cowl patterns. Could someone enlighten me about this particular disorder? Is it curable?

Well, all said, have a great week! We're Christmas shopping tomorrow, just me and the hubby. We usually spend a day in the toy stores, playing like kids, without the kids in tow. It's one of my favorite days to spend with him.
And of course, we're voting! Are you?