Tag Archives: hand knit

Killer Poppies

The socks are turning out to be a bit of a nightmare. Not a full blown one, mind you. Just the kind where you knit half a sock, run into an issue and spend the next 5 days redesigning it. You may already have guessed it, but the Poppy/Sunflower socks are turning out to be Killer Poppy Socks.

I hit the first snag on Wednesday night. I’d forgotten to take into account the increasing that needs to happen between the heel of the sock and the calf. Now you might not realize it, but there is a significant increase in leg circumference over the length of a typical sock cuff. Since stranded color work has so much less stretch than regular knitting, you can no longer rely on the intrinsic stretch of the fabric to bail you out.  You must design them in.

The second snag I should have anticipated, since I ran into something really similar on my Grecian Goddess socks, but I didn’t. Anticipate the problem, that is. I certainly ran head long into it. This problem being that I am anal, and I want my pattern to reach a certain place on the colorwork chart at a certain place on the foot. Which isn’t a big deal, right? I mean seriously, you just start at the toe and stop knitting when the sock is long enough. Well, that works very well with a minor amount of wrangling when the designer is knitting for their own foot. Considering that not the entire world has the exact same foot size as I do means that the pattern would essentially be usuable (in it’s best form) by only me. So all of you reading this would be out of luck pattern wise. I am a nice person, and I want you to enjoy the pattern, too. So back to the drawing board.

Once I discovered these issues all knitting came to a screeching halt. I didn’t even have an auxiliary project on the needles to help me out. Sure, I was 50% of the way through another pair of socks, but one sock was fully done and the other wasn’t even cast on. Casting on was just way too much work. So I sat around restlessly for two hours that night trying to figure out what to do. So I thought….and thought…….and thought………….for 5 days before I worked it out.

The good news is that the pattern should work. I’ve completely redone the charts – so now the stitch count is correct and it should fit me at the calf area. The bad news is that I’ve changed the starting point of the sock. It originally was a toe up and now we’re going cuff down. That means the 50% of a sock that I have done right now is going to be ripped out. Completely.

So I just ripped out 2 weeks of design/knitting work in favor of the last 5 days worth of brain wrangling.  And just in case you think that I have magic fingers, and knitting charts just flow out of them without effort I’ll leave you with this. It’s essentially an unedited chart “doodle” which was created during several design brainstorm sessions. Doesn’t it make you truly appreciate the clarity and cleanliness of a finished pattern? (And these are just the most recent changes/charts/doodles….several iterations were already erased/doodled over.)

Just so those of you who are waiting for the pattern don’t lose hope – here’s a picture of all the component yarns for the new redeisign: (Colors are: Marigold, Violet Vale, Ancient Forest)

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Pretty Poppies or Sunflowers?

Forward progress has been slow, but it is happening on the Pretty Poppies Socks. But they are now no longer poppies. Why? Mostly because the word Sunflower just looked so much better charted out as opposed to poppy or poppies. So here are what the socks look like currently:

More progress would have been made if I hadn’t ripped out the original heel. The first go ’round continued the Salt & Pepper pattern from the foot. But it was too tight and thick. The shaping was dumpy and I was unhappy. Heels are a pressure/rub point for nearly everyone and you have to get that part right or the socks stink to wear. So I switched to a two color garter. You can see it in this shot:

I’m still not happy with the heel, though. Not because the shaping is wonky this time around (Although the ssk row isn’t as straight as I’d like it to be due to the color changes. But that should block out.) This time I think the combination of the instep pattern, the gusset stripes and the striped heel are too overwhelming. There’s no where for the eye to rest. Luckily, you can work the entire heel in one color and end up in the same place you started from (Beginning of round, where the other working yarn strand is waiting.). So the next sock is going to have a plain green heel. That should clear things up substantially.

I will try to get more knitting done this evening….right after grocery shopping, present shopping, dinner and applying the first clear coat to my kitchen table legs. It’s going to be a busy night!

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Pretty Poppies Socks

I’m back from Sock Summit and sort of almost recovered from the insanity that is planning, working and cleaning up after a retail yarn show. It was great to meet lots of you at the Summit, and you know I always enjoy the yarn show – even if I don’t sleep for a month!

So I’m in just a bit of a holding pattern after the show, while I wait for a large order of base yarn to come in. After being in such a wonderfully chaotic, creative environment, it’s hard not to design something new. So currently on my needles I have my Pretty Poppies socks.

1/2 way up the foot on the first sock

1/2 way up the foot on the first sock

The idea is that the flower grows out of the toe, up the foot and finally blooms on the leg. Yarn is: Yarn Love’s Diana in Violet Vale (Background color: non repeating, medium saturated purple, semi solid) and Scarlett O’Hara in Ancient Forest (Accent color: non repeating, moderately saturated green, semi solid). The flower will of course be another color, but I haven’t quite decided what color I’ll choose. I’m leaning towards a new tri color that I dyed up for Sock Summit called Marigold. Notice the entire floral motif thing we’ve got going here?

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Twinkle Mitts, Mitten & Cowl – new pattern release, Jan 2009

Twinkle Mitts, Mittens, and Cowl - January 2009 from Yarn Love
Twinkle Mitts, Mittens, and Cowl – January 2009 from Yarn Love

New Pattern release from Yarn Love!

Our newest pattern: the Twinkle Set will be released January 2009. The pattern includes instruction for average adult sizing of fingerless mitts (pictured), full mittens, and a cowl (also pictured. Shown at left in Malabrigo Chunky Merino colors Roanoke & Lettuce.  Only available at Eat.Sleep.Knit. – please check them out! They are one of our retailers and have an amazing customer rewards program. (I happily shop with Erin & Dad, too!)

The given gauge is perfect with our Charlotte Bronte Aran merino, as well.

 

 

 

Twinkle Set shown in Brisa - Malabrigo Merino Chunky

Twinkle Set shown in Brisa - Malabrigo Merino Chunky

 

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My house smells like spiced pumpkin scones!

Wow. It’s been a while since I blogged, eh? I’ve always had this problem with journaling. If I get out of the habit, it’s months before I get back to it. I must not be very committed to writing down my thoughts.

It was a busy summer. It was an even busier fall. Let’s not even get into what the Thanksgiving and Christmas season are shaping up to be.

Most recently, I returned from Stitches East in Baltimore. Sharon and I were both there with Yarn Love and Three Irish Girls. Our  booth looked beautiful….but I don’t have photos. The camera unfortunately, suffered an injury on the plane which caused LCD screen to die. Technically, you can still take photographs via the viewfinder, but you can’t make adjustments to any settings because those options are always displayed on the screen. It makes for Zen Photography (i.e. Crappy Photos!). Oh well. We are getting a new camera next week. One that’s well rated….and actually inexpensive for the sheer number of favorable reviews about it.

Now, I’m working on getting the above sweater pattern ready for public consumption…including technical editing, photography, and layout. This is all new to me, since my only other published pattern was very simple and edited by the kind people over at Knitty.

Here are few pictures of things I knit over the summer to keep you going until the next time I actually blog:

Boo Socks in Twinkling Pink & Fresh Celery:

NeverMore Socks in Bump in The Night:

Netherfield Hand Knit Socks in Netherfield (Dutchess Dk yarn):

Sensational Colorwork Socks in Cove and Fresh Celery:

(These were by far the most popular sample I took to Stitches!)

Revenge of the Mummies Socks in Robin Hood and Delicate Aquamarine:

That’s not everything, but it’s all I’m going to post right now. Enjoy until another bout of motivation takes hold and I post more!

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Facebook = Time sucker!

I have succumbed to peer pressure.

I sold out to the man.

I am having a blast on Facebook.

Yep, a week ago I didn’t care about Facebook. Yes, I knew what it was but had no desire to ever join or spend time looking for people I didn’t know I cared about until I met them on Facebook. You know the song and dance. Busy at home, busy with yarn, etc., etc., etc. Then my very good friend mentioned (On her way out the door to her Valentine’s day dinner. You know you’re good friends when you both are in great relationships and you have to get together before your respective romantic evenings for a quick chat.) that she and my brother in law were talking ABOUT ME on Facebook. About me!?!?! I mean who does that? If I wanted to see what they were saying, I could just join. So I told her goodbye, shut the door and joined.

It’s a time sucker. You sit down to check on your mystery growing plant, see if the egg your friend sent you has hatched into something cute, realize that you have several new and funny stickers to read, notice that 10 of your closest friends have been writing on your wall since you were last there, then remember that there were 3 new beers that needed to be added to your beer rating application and pretty soon you’re late for making dinner because the past 60 minutes were sucked into the black hole of Facebook. But did I mention that if you simply add the Beer! application you can see my rating and remarks on every beer I’ve ever drunk?

Stating that Facebook has sucked up my time this week and that I’ve not gotten anything else done is a complete lie. I have nearly finished up my calculations for the business’ tax numbers. (You know those ones you have to spend hours working on before handing them over to a professional.) The deal will be sealed as soon as I go through my account, debit, and credit card statements to categorize and total every expense for the entire, freaking year. Yes, that’s after I had to go through and verify that everything was an actual business expense and wasn’t the result of pulling the wrong one of 3 identical bank cards from my wallet at the time of purchase. I hate taxes. Freaking taxes. And don’t get me started on politics.

Crap. I got derailed. I was supposed to be talking about the 12 pounds of yarn I hand-painted Monday and Tuesday of this week in addition to all the tax number crunching, but the tax angst took over. So yes, I have dyed half of a smaller order headed for The Loopy Ewe in the past two days. My skeining gal is coming over this afternoon and on Friday to get it into shape for shipping. Hopefully the new swift will be here by Friday so she can work from home and get lots more yarn done up faster! We’ll see. I inadvertently ordered it from a place who are open all weekend but closed Tuesday and Wednesday. Well, crap! If I’d known that I wouldn’t have waited all weekend to place my order!!!!!! Ahem. Anyway. It won’t be here by Friday, but I really want it to be. It’s a Strauch. Expensive, but I’ve heard they’re amazing. I’ve simply worn out my other one from two years of constant use, so this will be a nice upgrade (That I’ll never see or use!).

Sweet Sheri SocksThe Sweet Sheri socks are finished, except for weaving in the ends. I’m going to try to get that done today so they can go into the mail and be to St. Louis by the 28th. That’s Sheri’s actual birthday. Yay for birthday socks! I still think there’s way too much light green/celedon in this colorway, but I have request upon request for this. If you like it, it’s going to be available exclusively at The Loopy Ewe and there are three pounds of this colorway in the next order.

The socks are a mutton of patterns. The instep is the Jaywalker chevron, slightly modified to fit my stitch count. The sole is 2 X 2 ribbing for a nice fit. The heel is a garter stitch short row, and the cuff is Estonian Button stitch topped off with a decent cap of ribbing. I was attempting to do plain stockinette stitch instep and sole, and I couldn’t do it. I got 5 rounds past the short row of the first toe before deciding that this just wasn’t working out. I hope they fit. Most always, I work my socks toe up and knit until they fit and then turn the heel and do the cuff. The second sock is either knit at the same time or I count rows to copy…… It’s so nerve wracking to knit for someone else! I have relatively skinny, long feet and Sheri’s socks are just so much bigger than mine…..I hope I haven’t inadvertently knit GINORMOUS socks that are even too big for her. I swatched. I swatched! Swatched for socks people, and then double checked the stitch calculations based on measurements provided and then made them a hair smaller for the perfect fit. And they still look big.

I always do this. I’m completely convinced that the gift I’ve just knitted is wrong in every way and then have giving anxiety until I know otherwise. Sigh. Only with handmade gifts…..which I generally spend a lot of time planning out so that they’re sheer perfection for the giftee. Oi. I’ve got to go weave in ends before I talk myself out of sending them. (No, it’s not because I’m keeping them for myself because they’re an inch too long for my feet!)

Sweet Sheri in progress

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In which I ply you with crappy pictures

This week's play time accomplishmentsIt’s been a productive week here at Casa de Yarn Love. So far I have:

*Knit one complete pair of Noro socks

*Finished one Vinnland Sock in Trekking XXL and completed 30% of the second.

*Dyed 5 ounces merino/tencel roving in three solid colors. (1.6 -ish ounces each color) Spun the singles and plied them into a single skein. Destined to be mittens for my No Hum Drum Mittens swap partner.

* Dyed two more skeins of yarn for the mittens once I figured out the hand-spun wasn’t going to be nearly enough. Now I have a solid skein of merino/tencel fingering weight yarn and one variegated skein. They’ll be held together as I knit so that it mimics the hand spun yarn. We’ll see if it works.

 And all that was just in my “play time” – it doesn’t include any yarn that I’ve dyed for the business. Thoughts about said projects in no particular order:

 Mitten Swap

Not going like I’d prefer. Mostly because I forgot that the tencel content of the roving really makes this yarn dense and heavy….with little yardage compared to spinning 100% wool or the wool/bamboo blend. That means I have a lot of work into a skein that weighs 5.2 ounces and only contains 175 yards. Not nearly enough for the project. Oh well, that’s where the two newly dyed yarns come into play.

We’ll see if I end up combining all three yarns. I like the hand-spun by itself. I like the two hand dyed yarns, too. I’m not sure if it’s a good idea to combine all three. Oi. Now onto the design phase. Here’s the pattern that won the most votes for the base pattern: Spooky Cabled Armwarmers. Now to swatch, knit and design the flip top.

 Noro Socks

I love the look of the Noro sock yarn. The color repeats and color combination are amazing. However, this yarn is not as soft or elastic as other sock yarns I’m used to working with. We’ll see if they grow on me. The upside is that because I prefer shorter length cuffs, I only used 50 out of 100 grams in the skein. I’ll get two pairs from a single skein. That makes a girl happy. I anticipate that I’ll be using this yarn again because the color is too amazing to get past. However I’ll probably attempt to spin up some “Noro” sock yarn on the wheel out of a softer fiber. I’d like a bit more elasticity. My current pair, while it fits, tends to slouch through the cuff more than it ought.

 Vinnland Socks in Trekking XXL

Bad yarn/pattern combo here. The pattern is gorgeous, and I thought the Trekking would look like the Noro when it knit up. It doesn’t. It’s very tweedy or marled looking and the color takes away from the beauty of the pattern. I have some mostly solid spring green Scarlett sock yarn dyed up to knit this again. I want the pretty pattern to show! Vinnland is a great pattern, and I want another pair in a solid color.

More later, I have to go dye now. I gave myself until the Jet album was done burning to blog….and it’s just finished.

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