Monday, October 31, 2005

I Am What I Am

"You are Merino Wool.You are very easygoing and sweet. People like to keep you close because you are so softhearted. You love to be comfortable and warm from your head to your toes."

Have you ever answered the questions on one of those quizzilla thingys? I took a test to see what kind of wool I am, and I knew I was merino wool before I took the quiz. Sure enough, it said I am just that--but the reasons it gave were really off...easygoing and sweet? Anybody who knows me will tell you that ain't so! And yes, people like to keep me close, not because I am calm and gentle, but so they know what I'm up to. The only thing it got right was that I love to be warm! Today we are having a typical Texas Halloween--chilly rain and dropping temperatures. I would love to curl up with an afghan and a good book tonight, but all the little munchkins will be ringing the doorbell. DH and I take turns handing out candy, while the other controls Macy, who loves all kiddos no matter how they are dressed. Her scared--no siree!

OTN: One Pansy sock is down to the toe, and the other has been cast on. A new bag has been started and the Harry Potter scarf is started. Christmas is moving right along.

Thursday, October 27, 2005

One Done - One Started

Purple waves are done, and Field of Flowers started with KnitPicks Sock Garden in the Pansy colorway. The Pansy color is so pretty that I decided to just knit a plain sock with no lace or pattern, so nothing detracts from the beauty of the colors. Then, last night I selected the next "sock makings." (Gotta have the next pair ready).

Moving right along--I am also knitting the Harry Potter tie/belt, and working on another bag as previously reported. I'm making up for the two days I didn't knit at all--catching up on Christmas before I get so far behind that I'm knitting on Christmas day.

How about those White Sox!!!! (Yes four !!!!) Living in Texas and calling Chicago home makes it hard. I can't say "yea" for the Sox on the street for fear of being mobbed. The last two games were really fun to watch, and I'm a happy Sox lover! Go White Sox.

Wednesday, October 26, 2005

Pup Fashions

This was just too cute to resist. Macy the Jack Russell Terrier has a new sweater--a gift from friend Kris. For a big bad hunter type dog she sure is prissy! She loves to have a sweater on, and wears her bandana everyday. This month's bandana (which marks her as a working dog) has little ghosts and boos all over it. I wish I'd made this sweater, or at least I hope to be able to make some like it in the future. I've never knit a dog sweater (I have to get control of this sock mania). But if I knit them, she will wear them!

OTN - I cast on for "Fields of Pansies." Knit Picks Pansy color with purple, yellow, lavendar, and almost black is beautiful. I finished DD's purple waves (pic next post), and what a pretty design. I'll have to use that design again--there I go planning socks to the exclusion of all other knitting. Someone stop me or I'll have to borrow feet to knit for. I did cast on and start the Harry Potter tie/belt, so maybe I can put the socks down for a while. Sure, that's going to happen!

Sunday, October 23, 2005

New Toy

No knitting going on here today (or yesterday). I've been playing with my new BlackBerry toy--no, not really playing but trying to figure out how to use it. I've owned a Palm PDA for a long time and a cell phone since they were as big as shoe boxes, but put them together, add the internet and email, and you have a whole new ballgame. AND this is not a game I recognize. Not only does it do things without my asking (like type in words I haven't yet told it how to spell), but it gets together with my computer and coordinates my days and organizes my tasks like two office assistants I didn't know I'd hired. I hot-synced that puppy with Outlook, and it promptly told me I have a meeting tomorrow that I'd better not miss. Have you ever wondered if these high tech gadgets own us or do we own them? We shall see!

So, when I do get a chance to knit, I will be starting the Harry Potter tie shown in the picture. It's from Alison Hansel's Blue Blog, and so cute I know I will have to arm wrestle GD for it. I did some stash enhancement yesterday. In addition to the burgandy and gold WoolEase for the tie (which can also be worn as a belt), I bought plain navy sock yarn, red wool for a felted hat, and emerald green Fun Fur for a cute hat band. I'm good-to-go if I give up trying to figure out Trixie the new gadget, and just start letting it run my life.

Wednesday, October 19, 2005

Especially For Linda

I've had a request for the "I Love This Sock" (also known as Super Sock) pattern. This is the Knitty Gritty pattern, and it's so easy you won't believe it--and fast too. The worsted weight yarn knits fast, and it's really nothing but a few inches of ribbing, a heel, and a foot--done!

*I used Lion Brand WoolEase, worsted weight but I think any worsted weight yarn would work.
*US #5 dpn's. (I cast on using #6 needles to give the top more stretch, but #5's can be used throughout).

Cast on 40 stitches and distribute evenly over four needles.

Knit 2 1/2 to 3 inches of ribbing. I used knit 3, purl 2 ribbing because it give you two sets of 3 X 2 ribs per needle. I'm lazy and I don't like to purl across two dpn's. Plus, I think this is a substantial and pretty ribbing, so I use it often.

Heel Flap:
At end of ribbing knit one row plain and begin heel flap as follows:
Beginning with a purl row, *Slip 1, purl across remaining stitches on the purl side.*
Knit row: *s1, k1* repeat across the knit side
Continue this pattern for 2 to 3 inches (depending on the required depth of the heel flap from ankle to floor).

Turn Heel Beginning on a purl row:
Row 1: S1, purl to midway plus 2 stitches more (10 stitches + 2), p2tog, p1, turn.
Row 2: S1, k5, k2tog, k1, turn
Continue across each purl and knit row, purling or knitting to the gap created by short-row turn, then purling or knitting 2 stitches together across the gap (k2tog or p2tog). Purl or knit one more stitch and turn, until all stitches on the needle are finished. When the heel flap and cup are completed, start the gusset.
Finish the heel on a knit row, and begin to pick up a stitch under each of the long slipped stitches along the side of the heel flap. Starting with end with the live yarn, pull a yarn loop through each of the long stitches created along the side of the heel flap by the S1 stitch at the beginning of each row.

Knit across the 20 stitches on the two front needles. When you reach the end of the front row, pick up at least the same number of stitches along the other side of the heel flap with your extra needle. You should now have 10 stitches on each of the front two needles, and something more that 20 stitches (the original stitches plus the picked up stitches) combined on the heel needle, which you can now distribute evenly over two needles.

GUSSET (Instep decreases):
Round 1: Knit across front two needles with 10 stitches each.
On needle number 3: K1, SSK, and knit remaining stitches.
On needle number 4: Knit to within three stitches from the end of the stitches on the needle, K2tog, K1.
Round 2: Knit plain around on all needles.
Repeat these two rounds until there are 10 stitches on each of the two heel needles. You should now be back to 40 stitches altogether. Continue to knit with no further decreases until the foot is as long as you want and you are ready to decrease for the toe.
HINT: For foot length – measure your foot from base of heel to end of big toe. Begin toe decreases two inches from the length of that measurement. (Mine is 10 inches, so I knit the foot for 8 inches before beginning the toe decreases).

Toe: Use the same decreases you used on the heel gusset, except now on all needles.
On needle number 1: k1, SSK, knit to end of stitches.
On needle number 2: knit to within 3 stitches from the end, and k2tog, k1.
On needle number 3: k1, SSK, knit to end of stitches.
On needle number 4: Knit to within three stitches from the end of the stitches on the needle, K2tog, k1.

Knit plain around.

Continue these two rows until only a few stitches remain and you can no longer knit decreases.

Cut the yarn, leaving enough of a tail to thread through the remaining stitches. Pull the threaded yarn tight and knot on the inside of the toe. Weave in ends, both top and toe.

I hope I haven't left anything out. If you have any questions please let me know. It's easy to knit a sock you have knitted a half dozen times--harder to tell someone else how to do it. But it really is easy and soooooo comfy.


Sunday, October 16, 2005

Riding the Waves

I was going through a book of patterns and out fell a slip of paper I had written a stitch pattern on some time back. Hmmmm, waves...could be neat. So I tried it and here is the first four inches. I think it is very pretty, so I've decided to keep it, and continue on. At the same time I started another pair of Super Socks in hot pink just because I love that sock. You may be able to see my purple #3 Comfort Zone needles in the picture. I'm using pink #5's on the pink (WoolEase) socks. I love having needles in a complimentary color. It's so Zen-like. Before I even pick up the knitting to start, I look at it and say a-h-h-h-h-h.

I was reading a survey the other day that asked if you can even think about knitting in the summer heat. If I didn't, I would never knit in Texas. I like to knit year-round. I don't understand the seasonal thing. How can anyone who knits, NOT knit all year? I know I'm obsessed. So much so that I dream about knitting, think about it a lot of the time, and when I'm not knitting or thinking about it, I'm shopping for yarn. I love playing with new and interesting yarns, expensive and cheap yarns, thick and thin yarns.... I've been trying alternative yarns for socks lately. I've tried microspun, worsted weights, baby yarns, doubled lace yarn, etc. They're all good. If it's yarn it's good--it will knit. So I challenge all of you to try something new. Don't sell acrylics short, and try something other than sock yarn for socks. It's fun!

Saturday, October 15, 2005

New Name-Same Sock

Now known as Dashing, we see the completed pair frolicking in the ivy. Friend Kris of Knitting Little Bits renamed this dashing design, and it stuck. The pattern has been added to Knitting-On-The-Go web site, here. Now on to DD's purple socks.

I placed a big order with Knit Picks, my favorite place to order yarn online, and can't wait for the sock yarn even though the order was for the last of the wool to knit Christmas bags. Don't know how that sock yarn got in there, but it's sneaky stuff. I have to watch it or it will sneak into every yarn order I place. The bag wool is going to finish off the Christmas knitting nicely--fog and mist with a smidgen of daffodil thrown in should be pretty.

I had a call from GD#1 last week. She is a journalism major at Winona University, Minnesota. She, more than anyone else, got me interested in blogging. I read her online journal as often as possible, and now I hope she reads my blog. Not that she is at all interested in knitting. I can't get any of my grandchildren interested in the art--they are all too busy. Jessica is working at the newspaper there and studies hard to keep her grades high. She is a talented writer who started writing beautiful poetry at a young age. One day I'll post one of her poems here. All that and she is beautiful too. Oh to be young again and have the world at our feet--able to do anything we set our minds to. You can tell I am living vicariously through each of them. What a blessing grandchildren are!

Tuesday, October 11, 2005

Dashes No Dots

Beginning the second "Dashes No Dots" sock. This pattern came about through sheer lunacy. I wound my new yummy yarn into a ball, and got my dpns. Then I cast on, knitted two inches of ribbing and realized that the pattern that I was going to use was in my office. Since I was sitting on the couch with the dog and the knitting in my lap, and well into a recorded episode of Firefly, I was not going to go get it, especially when Mal was sitting on a rock in the desert--well--um--naked. So I created on the fly, knitting the first thing that came into my head. It didn't turn out so badly.

My "creations" run about 50/50. Half the time I wish I had done something else, and the other half I'm amazed that I produced a fairly interesting object. Actually, I guess 50/50 is a stretch. There's that small percentage of the time when I end up asking myself, "What the h*## was I thinking?" It makes life interesting--all those times when we flub whatever we're doing and know that we are among the ranks of thousands who are messing things up at the same time! Yup, one more time..."Life Is Good."

Saturday, October 08, 2005

All Good Things

All good things must come to an end. The Hollyberry socks are done, and these socks were a joy to knit. Now that they are finished I can't wait to start the next pair. I have a pastel pink and green varigated yarn that I want to start, but DD told me yesterday that she needs something with purple in it. I'm planning to do a lace heart pattern down both sides of the socks, and since the design won't show to full advantage with the varigated yarn, I am on the way out now to buy purple. Purple and hearts??? I guess it could work. I also have some WoolEase in white with a bit of glitter added to make another pair of the "So Cute Super Socks" that I love so much.

Lest you think that I am stuck on socks again, I finished another bag. So there. This one is the bluebonnet blue and hot tulip pink (pictures after felting). It's really pretty, but bright. I haven't quite decided who it will live with--me, me, me. No, no, no she says, these are for Christmas gifts. Me, me, me doesn't get one until after the gifts are all done!

Just have to say that I am truly impressed with the way JoAnn's is improving their yarn assortments. The wool yarns available, and the fingering yarns that can be adapted to sock knitting are getting much better. There is still a big gap in the true sock yarn, but if we all send email messages about "more sock yarn" it might help. They seem to want to adapt to the market--and the nice thing is that almost everyone has a JoAnn's within driving distance. It could become the next best thing to online yarn ordering. Okay, I can dream can't I?

Wednesday, October 05, 2005

So Many Faces, So Little Time

This is by far my favorite face cloth so far. I have one more to knit--well, really two because DH said this morning that he thought he could use "one of those cloth things." He likes the masculine colors and designs on the ones for the guys in the family (dark green with a deer, red with a maple leaf, grass green with a frog, etc). When I tie them up with a glycerin soap of the same color, and dump them into the toe of their Christmas stockings, I hope they will think, "Wow, that's different--and really nice!" Isn't Christmas knitting fun?

I am about to post the pattern for the ribbed hollyberry socks on the Knitting-On-The-Go website. Thanks to all of you who have made such kind comments about the patterns already there. The comments indicate that it is nice to have simple patterns for hand and machine knitting, that can be adapted to an endless number of variations. The ribbed Christmas socks (KnitPicks Hollyberry is a red and green merino wool) are simply knit two, purl two ribbing from the top, all the way down the foot. But you can try different heels and toes, or maybe putting the knit side of the bottom of the foot on the inside for sensitive tootsies. Instructions for all will be given.

It's a beautiful day in Fort Worth, Texas! A cold front is moving in this evening, and it is already cooling from yesterday's 91 degrees. It's too pretty to work--wish I could sit on the patio, drink coffee, and knit all day. I wish you all a day of knitting.

Monday, October 03, 2005

The So Cute Super Sock

They are so cute that I want to make several pairs. This is the Knitty Gritty pattern, and is extremely easy. You just knit ribbing for two 1/2 to three inches, knit the heel in your favorite method, and sail to the toe. Both socks done in two evenings using #6 dpn's--how easy can it get? Because they are done using Lion Brand WoolEase they are very warm and cozy. Winter is coming and I need warm and cozy for my feet. I tried them on with sneakers and they felt great. Then, I tried them on with ankle boots, and they were even better.

So, I bought red WoolEase, and yellow sport weight WoolEase, and started making some in heather green for my son who walks to work from the train station in downtown Chicago all winter. It took one skein of the marine blue for the socks shown, but I got two skeins for the much longer socks I'm making for DS. I'm making his socks with an eight inch leg, including two inches of ribbing. Still, it only took one evening to knit the leg and heel, and get about an inch into the gusset.

I'm starting a pair of pink lace socks now (sock weight yarn and #2 needles), but I can't wait to get back to what I'm calling the "Super Sock."