Friday, August 31, 2007

I Am Consistent!

Hercules Sock-a-Rama
Originally uploaded by sunasak
I went to the sock drawer this morning to find Blue/Green socks for the "dress your school colors" day at work (I dressed in the kids' high school colors, since orange and blue don't suit me and I own no Gator or Illini items). What did I see was a sock I made last year and wore a lot. I also saw my Sea Wool socks I finished a few weeks ago.

Whoa, look at that, sez I. They are the SAME colorway.

I must really like those colors to have bought them twice, a year apart. At least they are different in composition, and I knitted them differently. I guess I know what I like. And it's those subdued colors.

Not much knitting happened yesterday, but I still got to toe toes on the worsted weight socks. So you'll have a photo of one of them tomorrow. I don't know whether I will put them on me, where they will be too long, or on Lee, where they will be too short. No one in the house is a men's size 9.5.

The exciting weekend plan is to finish the lace sample and trudge along on the top of the pentagon. Round and round plain stockinette in a solid color is something I need distraction to work on; otherwise it's pretty boring. However, the bag will be SO cute...need to finish it!

In other news, I seem to have won another contest over at the Campanula for the Cure KAL, so I think I will stop entering them and let someone else win. I anxiously await prize announcements, though, since their sponsors are people I've never bought stuff from before.

I'm also really happy to have inspired at least one other knitter to work on Kaylee. She posted a work in progress photo on my Flickr pages, so go check it out!

Wednesday, August 29, 2007

Kaylees Are Complete and I MUST Stop

Yay, I did finish Kaylee (or Bee) socks last night. I wore them a long time, too. So comfy--they will be great around the house socks. I like how the color pooling flows across the socks in this picture, too. The Fiesta Boomerang yarn was such a joy to knit with--wow, it feels just great and has a little sheen to it, too. And this is one of the most fun patterns I ever knitted--dropping all those YOs then tying them back together is fun! And it was easy!

I've told nearly everyone I know what a great holiday gift a pair of socks like this would make! So, maybe I'll make a pair for my sister, who so far is getting tan and gray disco socks (that sock yarn from a couple of years ago with shiny silver threads in it).

I started a pattern from Knitty, Thuja for Lee's dad. These look like they will take just a day or two each, if I have time to knit. I am using size 4 needles and Cascade 220 superwash in navy blue. Nothing too wild for an old German/Texan farmer with cold feet! And they must be machine washable! I may even make him a couple of pairs, since he requested socks to keep his feet warm around the house. Then I'll make him a pair out of sock yarn, in case he likes that. I have located all my "manly" colorways.

Yarn Overload

Why I MUST stop is in the title is that I got my package from Astrid's Dutch Obsessions yesterday. Oops, I went over board. There are at least TEN balls of sock yarn, plus enough of the amazing stripey Kauni EQ Rainbow for that lovely stranded sweater so many people are knitting (thanks to the Yarn Harlot Lady), AND a 1144-yard hank of some incredible Kauni EG-260 lightweight wool (not laceweight, I don't think) in blendy stripey bright violets that wants to be one of those Victorian Lace Today scarves. So I think.

Why on EARTH did I get TEN balls of sock yarn? Well, here's what they are:

1. 4 Trekking Seasons balls--winter, spring, summer and fall. Had to get all 4, right? If you visit the Astrid home page, you will see what these will look like knit up, and I think you'll agree it's a nice variant on self-striping yarn.

2. 3 Trekking Autumn Fire series -- again, must have whole series, huh?? (These are quite fun, too)

3. Some Opal yarn with Bamboo, in the softest greens (it is greener than the picture shows). I love bamboo, and soft colors.

4. Regia in browns, rusts and blues, but what is cool is that they swirl and look like Jupiter when knit up, according to the package. Well, I just have to see THAT. I guess these are the Planets series. No, I looked it up--it's the Galaxy series in Jupiter Terra. I did manage to just buy one colorway. Even Lee said it looked cool.

5. That sock yarn with pom poms on it. I think it's Regia Pon, too, yeah this is it. I got white with blue puffs. Again, you can't get it here and I just wanted to see how weird it looked in person. It looks weird.

So you see, I nnneeeeeedddeeeddd all those yarns. Yup.

I will try to take a picture and stick it in here, but I was so embarrasses that I sorta scattered the yarn hither and thither so it didn't make a large mass, staring at me saying, "You are one sick yarn buying woman, Suna."

Note that this was ordered BEFORE My Man Lee got laid off. I am sticking with my yarn buying moratorium. All I have bought since then was the yarn for his dad's socks.

Funny PS!

My online friend Michelle posted this cartoon. If you don't get to read newspapers (I read mine online, and never get to the comics), check out the knitter's moment of fame!

Tuesday, August 28, 2007

Summer of Socks 2007

Summer 2007 Socks
Originally uploaded by sunasak
Yes, August is almost over and I am declaring Suna's Summer of Socks 2007 over. (I didn't realize it was going to be a summer of socks, but it was.)

This picture has at least one image of every pair of socks I made this summer, with a couple repeated. I made ten pairs in all, starting in mid-June, which is not like some of the pros, but pretty good for someone with a full-time job who can't knit on the commute! I have three days of August left to finish the second Kaylee sock, which actually should occur tonight.

I will be trying to finish the sample of Jody's Color My Yarn Krazy laceweight by Friday so I can block it and take it to the LYS on Saturday. That should be possible--I doubled it last night and also worked on the sock AND did a rehearsal! Don't forget you can read more about her luminous semi-solids project and sign up for a mailing list about her new yarns, which will do until she gets a website set up (see yesterday's post for instructions).

Once those items are off the list, I will finish the pentagon project, which is growing steadily but with 250 stitches around, simply will take a while to finish. Then I PROMISE to finish the surplice top. Um, and start those Christmas socks. I found a pattern on that will liven up Lee's Dad's worsted weight in solid navy, which is a relief.

Happy Back to School week in much of the US!

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Monday, August 27, 2007

Preview of Fun to Come

Dyeing Sample Lace
Originally uploaded by sunasak

I have a friend (OK, it's Jody, who commented below, who is like one of my bestest friends, otherwise I'd not be plugging her madly) who is starting a business dyeing yarn. This is someone with an amazing sense of color and the scientific knowledge to do some really amazing things with the yarns. She's starting out with some semi-solids and made dozens and dozens of samples in colors that are so pretty it takes my breath away. I have NO idea how I could choose a favorite, or if I were a LYS owner, how I'd pick the ones to sell! Right now there is something for everyone in the selection and THEN some. I keep imagining the mitered square bedspread to end all bedspreads made out of all these little samples. OK, so that won't actually happen; she needs them!

We all had a blast at the LYS on Saturday looking at the samples, touching them, rearranging them, oohing and aahing. My friend obviously put a lot of work into making recipes and documenting them, and making all those samples! Whoa! Some of the colors were shades I had never seen in yarn for sale. Oh, drooooooool. Look at all those blues and purples.

Lucky for me, she made two samples of one color (this is, believe it or not, yellow base dye with black), so I could knit up a sample for our LYS, which is in the photograph. It came out a lovely olive green. I am enthralled with how the slight color variations make it shimmer without detracting from the lace pattern. The base yarn is a wonderful wool-silk blend that will be familiar to any lace knitter. It sure takes to dye well!! Do click the image of the sample to see it enlarged. It's so pretty, even in perhaps not the most exciting color on earth. (Hmm, it is the color of the earth, in my mind.)

I am enjoying using my new Addi lace needles on this sample, too. This is a size 4; a "normal" knitter would get this effect with about a size 6 US needle. The pattern is one repeat of a motif used in an item in a book I had laying around, but I am sure it is in one of the Walker books or a Harmony Guide--called "arrowhead lace." I think this would actually make a nice narrow scarf to wear as an accent with a button down shirt or turtleneck. Maybe when my friend makes more, I'll do that.

If you are interested in being notified when this yarn goes up for sale (I think she will have an Etsy store or something like that at first), you can send an email message to ColorMyYarnKrazy-subscribe AT yahoogroups DOT com (replacing the AT and DOT appropriately). It will be an announcement kind of list, not a mailbox-filling spammy kind. I think there will be laceweight and sock yarn at first. And eventually there will be hand painted sock yarn. However, these semi-solids are so lovely they'd keep me occupied for a while. I can't wait to see what she comes up with in the future!

Sunday, August 26, 2007

Another Weekend, Another Sock on the Road

Bee or Kaylee from the Front
Originally uploaded by sunasak
I do love to take pictures of finished objects in moving vehicles. Well, it is fun. And if the car isn't bumping around, the light is nice. With a new driver, there are a few bumps, even in our new Limo Truck.

This is the Kaylee or Bee sock #1 in finished glory. There are two other photos, from the side and back, in the Flickr gallery, if you want to see them. I don't usually like to make socks with thick yarn, but the Fiesta Boomerang in Stargazer colorway has such a wonderful texture and subtle sheen--I had to make it into socks, even if they turned out to just be house socks.

I am so glad I happened upon this pattern in someone's blog (it was among her "I want to make these" listings). In the picture it appeared to be knit from something at least sport weight, so I figured it would work for the Boomerang, And as you can see, it did. What a cute central motife, and what a nice side pattern that echoes it. I did my usual toe starting with Turkish cast-on, then a short-row heel that I did fairly competently, thanks, and a nice twisted rib on top, ten rows of it, followed by the same bind-off I did on Campanula.

This certainly knitted up faster! I will have sock #2 done in a couple of days, I am sure.

I did get in my final Loopy Ewe order for a while (on a yarn diet until My Man Lee gets a job), and in it was a clear bag for carrying a sock project. Since my poor Louisa Harding bag has been carried so much it's getting all scruffy looking, I figured I'd better switch to something else, but something I can also hang off my wrist while walking around. This little bag does it.

Lee looked at all three yarns I got, and declared his love for Sea Coast's Panda wool and bamboo blend in a shimmery green and silver colorway that is very different and has a nice sheen. It seems sold out so I don't know the link to it.

I also got Spritely Goods in a perky Spring Tulip colorway and from the Knitterry, 4 Ply sock yarn in an orchid color (I hope the pix will show up if the yarn sells out)

Tomorrow: yarn that is not for sale yet but you will want it, I guarantee. Preview pix can be seen in the Flickr gallery.

Friday, August 24, 2007

I'm a Winner, at Least in My Own Mind

Pair of Campanulas
Originally uploaded by sunasak

Yay, there are now two, count 'em two, Campanula for the Cure socks and thay are on my feet. The picture isn't great, but I was in a hurry to take it, because I thought maybe I'd be the first person in the KAL to finish their pair.

And I think I am! Huh, my first Knitalong and I finished first. I think the usual speedy knitters weren't doing it, and that's the only reason, because I really was NOT hurrying on these. I skipped a day more than once, and spent a lot of time with all that frogging (on sock #2 I re-did the entire heel because I got lopsided somehow). I am not sure if I get a prize or anything for "winning" but like the title says, I am a winner in my own mind.

Of course, on the last repeat or so the pattern began to make sense and I messed up less--the chart was very helpful. I was asked if I was planning on making another pair of, not right now, anyway. I do think they'd be lovely in a darker color, and I do have some J. Knits in light purples (New Jersey colorway) that would look nice with it...but so many socks, so little time, as they say.

So far everyone who has seen these socks has commented on their beauty. They were well worth knitting. I encourage you to check out the website and give these a try! Many thanks to Ramona to the pattern and Maggie for the chart!


  • Pattern: Campanula Lace Socks (available at link above)
  • Yarn: Dream in Color Smooshy in Pale Fire (from Loopy Ewe)
  • Needles: Size 0 Knitpicks circular
  • Modifications: Toe started with Turkish cast-on, gusset increases and decreased done one stitch inward to createa little drama, stopped leg after 4 repeats because I liked that length. 8 rows of twisted rib at the top (the purled cast-off worked nicely).

I am going to move on to working on the thick Boomerang Bee socks while in the car or at work, and getting back to the surplice top (remember it? Started in June?) at home.

Wednesday, August 22, 2007

Reminiscing on Progress

Originally uploaded by sunasak

It's been a bit of a downer at my house this week, since my Spousal Equivalent, Lee, got outsourced to India on Monday. Even when you know the company's laying of 10%, you hope you are one of the 9/10 that don't get laid off. But, good severance and many leads may help things end up fine.

So, knitting hasn't been high on the to do list. Though I did get through the heel on Campanula #2.

Let's look at today's photo. It's a brown wool vest. Not much to look at is it? It has significance for me, though!

1. It is the oldest knitted item I still have. I made this my junior year of college, so it is almost 30 years old. See how well wool can hold up? I wonder where I got wool in the 70s?? I remember mostly having a large collection of Red Heart acrylic in lime, orange, rust, gold and avocado!

2. It still fits. (YES!!!)

3. It really shows how much I have progressed.

Look closely at the transition between the body and the arms. The texture changes. That's because I was a very unsuccessful "combined" knitter at the time. I was knitting English style on long aluminum needles, one jammed into my jeans pocket for speedy throwing. And I purled the "wrong" way, thus twisting the stitches in back-and-forth stockinette. I had taught myself to purl using the Green Booklet (Coats and Clark?) everyone used at the time, and misinterpreted one of those illustrations of disembodied hands and artistically draped threads (how I ever learned to tat from that book I will never know).

I do give me credit for already kitting most of my things in the round. And for the fine border band. Pockets aren't sewn on too well, though, and this from Little Miss Embroiderer at the time.

I do know that this was the project that made me say, "Hey, wait a minute, what's up with those twists?"* First, I decided I would NEVER learn to purl the other way, so instead I learned to knit into the back, and my stockinette was fine for many years. But, when I started to do lace and things with a lot of SSKs and such, the contortions I went through to get things to lay the right way were too much for me.

I learned. Only took me a few hours to feel fine with the other technique. Doing this was a milestone. I realized I could teach myself all sorts of alternatives. So I taught myself to knit holding the yarn in my left hand. Then I did stranded knitting with one color in each hand.

Then eventually I learned to knit backwards and truly enjoy entrelac. I guess I am glad I taught myself the "wrong" way, because eventually it led me to being a very flexible knitter!

Note that I firmly believe that as long as you end up with something that looks knitted, there is no right or wrong way to knit. I tell students that a lot, and have seen some very interesting styles, but ones that work! I also tell students who ar reluctant to learn a new technique (I am not the only one who purled under rather than over) that the period of discomfort is nothing compared to the years of enjoyment you get when you see your knitting looking as nice as the garments in the magazine photos!

*It being the 70s, I probably didn't say that exactly. More like, "Whoa, man, these twists are definitely uncool."

Monday, August 20, 2007

Knitting Potpourri

Bee Sock
Originally uploaded by sunasak
I spent yesterday knitting a lot, but on three different projects, so not much got done on any of them.

Here you see the Bee socks, which are really Kaylee socks and are supposed to be fireflies, which makes sense if you ever saw that Firefly TV show. I still think they are bees surrounded by honeycomb, so I will name mine "Bee" anyway. The color in the photo is sorta weird, but I promise better pictures as soon as my camera is back from the warranty repair place (today!).

I am knitting these on size 1 needles (GASP, such huge needles!) and the yarn is thick, so they are sturdy li'l things. But, they'll be perfect with Birks or around the house. Love love love love love Boomerang.

The Campanula socks did get more work done yesterday, too, and I have only one repeat to go before the toes. That will ALL go much more quickly now that I have a CHART. So many thanks to Maggie who posted the chart to the Campanula for the Cure blog!! I love charts as much as Fiesta Boomerang.

AND I started the top to the Pentagonal Bag (yes it is a bag). It is turquoise SWTC Bamboo. And getting it started was hard on my hands, but it's moving along now. I will take a picture once I have a bit more done. This is going to drive poor Dragonfly and YvonneP crazy with waiting. I just hope I figure out a handle for it, eventually.

Sunday, August 19, 2007

Pentagon Is Felted; One Campanula Down

Pentagon Is Felted
Originally uploaded by sunasak
The Pentagonal Project has been felted. That's the best the front-loading washer would do, but I think it's felty enough. I had to be creative with what to use to shape it, so there are a number of food boxes and a wine bottle in there. Later, when the sides were dry I flattened the bottom with some Tupperware container with holes and a jar. Didn't have any cardboard I could cut to size hanging around.

I hope to get working on the next phase, which involves the crocheted line on the inside. THAT part was interesting--it's bamboo, and it didn't felt, but it lost whatever it is that softens bamboo yarn, and now feels more like linen, or raw bamboo. Interesting!

I did finish one Campanula for the Cure sock yesterday. It about killed me, though. Very frustrating knitting day for Suna. I went to the LYS and was rolling right along, when two women needing help showed up. One just needed to be reminded how to knit (thought she'd forgotten, hadn't!), but the other was a sweet lady who was little anxious and wanted to be taught how to knit in the round on DPNs (not my fave task, either) so she could make mittens for daughters up north. But, I got her to buy some expensive yarn so I figured she deserved some quality help time. It is SO awkward doing that at first, and she was nervous, so of course she made some errors which I was glad to help her with. And she left a happy camper (yay). It required me to stop and start a bit on my own stuff, naturally.

So all the attention focus changes got me all distracted and when I went home I forgot what row I was on. And for some reason could NOT read the knitting in the previous row to get back on track. I erased a bit and got to a part where I was sure where I was and knitted an entire pattern repeat. I put it on my foot. And I saw that I had repeated a section. There were two of the same "flower" in a row. I said to myself that there was NO way I was going to knit all that a third time. So, I erased it all and thank fully managed to get it back on the needles (lace, argh). And I knitted the twisted rib border from THERE.

I tried them on, rather upset with myself. Then lo and behold, I realized, heck these socks are plenty long enough as is. If I'd done another repeat they'd almost be knee socks! So, it worked out well in the end. I just really need to be able to concentrate to do these socks. Non-charted lace just requires too much concentration (it's just fine when I can concentrate, though).

To remind myself I am not a total knitting bozo, I started another sock, in Fiesta Boomerang, which is pretty thick and not really traditional sock yarn. The color is Star Gazer, which is some happy pastels. I figure I will make house socks. I am making a pattern (will look up the name) that looks like bees, with honeycomb on either side--another pattern that says "make a toe" then "make a heel." But, it's fun as all get-out, with lots of dropped YOs that make wings. And I just love that yarn. It is wound very interestingly and feels wonderful. I can work on those in public.

Saturday, August 18, 2007

Stash Enhancement Lovelies

Stash Enhancement Lovelies
Originally uploaded by sunasak
My shipment from the Loopy Ewe came in yesterday, and what a bundle it was! I got some really interesting yarns, because for the first time I managed to get up and ordering early enough after new yarns were put up that I got some of the "cool" stuff. And I got a red stitch marker, too. I love red.

Hey, for once, one of my photos came out with accurate color (the light was good, and there was no flash).

On the far left is stuff from Woully Boully, signed by the dyer, Ms. Boully. It's that highly twisted bouncy base yarn I like so much, in a colorway called Beneath the Cherry Trees. Really pretty colors.

Next is some really interesting yarn from Duet. It's Duet Skinny (and yay, it IS nice and thin) in a color called Platinum Sun. I got it because I realized I didn't have any yellow sock yarn. You can't have that. But what's cool is that it comes with a second little skein in a solid color to use on heels, toes and cuffs. KEWL!!

The dark yarn is by those wonderful J. Knit folks, made especially for the Loopy Ewe one-year anniversary called Happy Anniversary to Ewe (I don't know what all the famous bloggers did for yarn before this place came along). I love the colors--they will go well with jeans and stuff, and it's dyed in that wonderful random way that my Sea Cell was dyed. Lots of variation. It is more loosely spun, but very soft. I can't wait to knit with one of my skeins of this stuff. The pattern is a free pattern that was designed to go with the sock, celebratyro something or other.

And on the far right is some really special stuff. It is Fleece Artist's newest yarn, Somoko. It has all sorts of wonderful things in it, including mohair and silk, plus the nylon needed to make it strong. Well, it feels heavenly. The colorway is Sun, again because I have so little yellow or orange yarn.

That's it for fun with yarn! I need to finish Campanula socks so I can knit with one of these (next is Fiesta Boomerang, already decided).

Friday, August 17, 2007

Not That AGAIN!

One more exciting photo of the pentagonal item before felting. I give you a peek into the inside, where you will note a very bright stripe. That is a crocheted band all around the border of the small squares and the top striped edge. It is bamboo. Why? Bamboo doesn't felt. Let's see what happens when it comes out of the wash!

No other knitting progress due to having lunch with a friend, which means the Campanula for the Cure sock languished. I hope to finish it by tomorrow and get rolling on #2. I am supposed to take it many places and discuss it, according to the Knitalong lady, so I guess I'll blab about it at the LYS and band enrollment day at the high school.

At least I didn't buy any yarn yesterday, nor will I today.

PS: I hate it when I write a long opinion thing and no one says "you rock" or "you suck." I always know that to guarantee no comments on a post, all I have to do is put my opinion about something in it. All my political posts on my personal blog are like that, too. But, if I post a quiz or something, people are all over it. (Link to personal blog is available on request.)

Thursday, August 16, 2007

Pentagonal Progress Again

Pentagonal Progress Again
Originally uploaded by sunasak

Oh boy, another picture of the lumpy Noro item. I said I'd post progress reports! Last night I finished the row of small squares across the top of it, and started a band of plain stockinette that I picked up along the top edge. I hope to finish it tonight, barring too much back-to-school shopping and the phone ringing.

Then I will do one more little task to set up for the next stage in the project and felt away. We will see how the front-loading washing machine does. Pat at the yarn shop says hers felts fine, and that woman has felted a LOT of flowers and purses.

I got a ways up the sock leg yesterday, at lunch and a bit after work. But when my youngest is asking rapid-fire factual questions of me (Mom, are there such things as small sharks that are the same as big sharks? Well, there are baby sharks...), I find it very hard to keep track of where I am in the written-out instructions for the lace (it is not a memorizable pattern, at least for me, though I can tell if I mess up). I am wistfully wishing for a chart. I do see that the floral pattern with so many twists and turns, might not chart well.

People Are People

[Editorial Content Alert. Opinions Included.]

Now. Someone on an email list I read got blasted by list members for something she posted. (And by the way, I don't consider something an "advertisement" if you are sharing a contest, resource, sale or pattern with others--only if you are making money off of it would I call it an ad--how else would you tell people about something you found on the Internet that might be pertinent?) She wrote that she was hurt, and I felt sorry for her. But then she mentioned that she thought that type of knitter were all kind, like-minded souls who would not treat each other harshly. Oh, sigh, sigh sign.

I just have to tell you that assumption is ALWAYS false. In any random group of people drawn together because they have one thing in common, there will be all kinds of folks represented. Nice ones, smart ones, talented ones, slow ones, snippy ones and clueless ones, among others. They will run the gamut in political and spiritual beliefs, too. That's why more successful email lists stick to one topic and keep off-topic chit chat to a minimum. You're less likely to offend a snippy, clueless or nasty member that way, and less likely to get hurt.

How do I know this well enough to put an absolute like ALWAYS above? Decades of email list administration experience. Heh, there's a reason I don't administer lists any more. I was afraid my tongue would fall off after being bitten so long when people said unkind things to me.

I used to work for a nonprofit organization where all the members (all women) shared one thing in common. For some reason, that led a large number of them to assume that also meant they were all nice, kind and polite, too. But, then they'd also assume all members shared their religious or political views and YOW, that kindness thing would go out the window. And organizational disagreements and power-plays certainly made it clear that all mommies are not sweet "let's all play nice" kinda people.

I've seen the same thing on church email lists (please, NEVER make a joke about Christians on a Unitarian Universalist email list), school email lists...yadda yadda.

The point is, unless you hand-pick list members (and I do have a list like that!) you will need to remember there are many kinds of people on the list. Ideally you try to follow the rules and be polite. But if you mess up, accept that you'll get some sniping, mostly based on simple misunderstandings. However, I no longer try to explain myself. I just say I am sorry and drop it. Focus on the nice people who remember that all spiritual traditions have some version of the Golden Rule, and you'll be OK.

No set of people will all be "nice." Not writers, teachers, knitters, mothers, conservatives, liberals, agnostics, Quakers, comic book collectors, marching band parents, chocolate lovers, folk get it (and I am all of the above except one adjective!).

I'm just knitting, reading and doing the best I can. If I mess up, I'll punish myself plenty and delete rude posts as soon as I see where they're heading. You can't engage in a flame war if one party doesn't flame back!

Wednesday, August 15, 2007

Pretty Knitted Necklace

Knitted Necklace
Originally uploaded by sunasak

Today's knitted item is not by me, but is one I own. My LYS colleague Amy has taken to knitting these beaded necklaces, and I loved them so much that I bought this one off her (feeling slightly guilty because this color really brought out the blue in her eyes, but hey, she can make another one).

I have ordered one with reds and silvers in it. I hope she finds some red beads!

I love the pattern she uses, which is a simple short row pattern that makes the necklace hang nicely and keeps the beads facing forward. I am guessing the most time-consuming aspect of making the necklaces is stringing the beads. She uses a nice combination of "fancy" beads and your garden variety craft-store beads (which sparkle just fine, thanks).

I'd enjoy doing these, but with my queue, I know it won't happen. So why not support a fellow knitter, I say! I am so lucky to know so many talented people, both online and in real life!

Progress Report

I finished the heel and started up the leg on Campanula Sock #1. I seem to be about as far as some others on that project. Much of the evening I spent thinking about projects, reading the new Annie Modesitt book, Romantic Hand Knits (very pretty stuff, though mostly for people less lumpy than me) and thinking about home improvement projects.

I've been thinking about home improvement a lot because we (actually, Lee) just painted the guest room a pale grass green and lavender. I contributed by ordering a dainty coordinating set of sheets, comforter and curtains, though. Now the home of my knitting books will look spiffy. The summer of bedroom makeovers is almost complete!

Bad, Bad Me

Back to knitting, sigh. I ordered more yarn. A LOT of more yarn. There were some fascinating new things at the Loopy Ewe yesterday, and because for once I got there before everything was gone I "had" to snap up some interesting sock yarn (Woolly Boully was neat--comes in amazing colors. And then there was this Duet stuff, with coordinating solids to match a selection of really different and interesting variegated yarn--there was a pink, black and white one I loved but knew I'd never wear, which is, of course, all gone now).

Then today, sigh, I ordered all these new and hard-to-find fall Trekking XXL yarns from Astrid's Dutch Obsessions. I love Trekking XXL. And um. That Kauni stuff that makes the cool sweaters. And, very guilty about this one. The new Regia sock yarn with pom poms on it. Heck, I just want to SEE that stuff in person, and they don't sell it here. At least it will take a LONG time for the Dutch yarn to arrive. No more yarn for a while. I swear and affirm.

Plus, there are two items I am just dying to buy: the new sock book by Cat Bordhi and Evelyn Clark's new booklet on making her wonderful triangular shawls. A lot of the shawls I have knitted were designed by Evelyn Clark, so I am extra excited about that one--I would like to try designing some like hers on my own.

PS to Yvonne: yes, it is.

Tuesday, August 14, 2007

Pentagonal Progress Report

Pentagonal Progress
Originally uploaded by sunasak
Here's progress report #2 on the Pentagonal Project. It's going a bit slowly because I am also working on the Campanula sock. It's nice to go back and forth.

You can see it's easy and fun knitting. I made a mitered square off each end of the pentagonal base, and now I am making a row of half-sized squares on top of that. Not all the big squares are so similar--just those two in the photo. I have not yet decided what to do after this row of squares. There will be one more Kureyon element, however, and then it will get felted. You will have to wait and see what happens next!

Campanula Progress

Like I said, I am also moving along on the Campanula for the Cure sock, and will post more about it on their blog (listed in the blogroll at left). I am enjoying watching the flowers grow, and am almost to the point where the gusset starts. I'd be way past there if I hadn't been so tired from some hard web design work, paying bills, and doing tarot readings last night. I just couldn't knit and went to bed early.

Also I knew I'd be woken up before 5 am for some annoying-yet-humorous high school band tradition involving seniors waking up juniors, dressing them in funny clothing and making them eat breakfast. The photo of my son showed he was NOT amused. I am certain he's laughing by now, though.

Monday, August 13, 2007

Completed Neptune Socks

Neptune Socks
Originally uploaded by sunasak
Here, with a lovely pink blanket background are the Neptune socks in all their completed glory. I finished them in the new pickup truck, AKA the Limo, on the way to scenic rural Yorktown, Texas.

I sure do like them. They are going to look really sharp with shoes and jeans, and perhaps even dress pants. Lately I've been hiding socks I knit under my dress pants because it is COLD at work. (Today I am wearing Coupling socks and my Juliet sweater, PLUS a hand-knit necklace by my LYS colleague Amy (photo to come). I all hand knitting, all the time.)

I didn't bind off quite as loosely on sock #2 and it looks better than sock #1 off the foot, but they look the same on. The heel came out more interesting on sock #1, though. I truly enjoyed knitting with this Sea Wool yarn using the interesting textured pattern, and know these will be favorites for years to come. They fit SO well, too.

Other Progress and Cheer

I did start my Campanula for the Cure socks in the car on the way home yesterday. I am well into the third pattern repeat. I did the toes differently than the pattern asked, since I still don't really like to do short row toes (I will do the heel suggested, having seen others have issues when trying a different heel on those socks). I did the nice Turkish cast on toe, starting with 14 stitches. It came out fine. The Pale Fire yarn looks great with the Campanula lace--it's slight color variations don't detract at all from the flowers.

Whew, the lace pattern is not for the faint of heart. No chart, just words, and different numbers of stitches on different rows. Even a teeny bit of pattern on the "resting" rows! And my favorite stitch, knit 3 together through back loop. At least the KnitPicks needles let me manage it successfully. The resulting flowers are really lovely, though, and Ramona did a great job mirroring their directions. I will post a photo tomorrow or the next day!

I also want to post a photo of the mystery pentagonal project. It moved along a bit this weekend, too. It's becoming quite festive, but needed more Noro Kureyon on Saturday.

Here's the sweet story of how I got more Noro: at the LYS on Saturday, a lady came in with a store-bought sweater she had hoped to get fixed. Pat was looking at it and thinking it coulld not be fixed, but a bunch of customers came in so I said I'd take a look. It turned out to be an intarsia ribbon-knit sweater and one of the knots between colors had come undone, causing one stitch to unravel. I told the lady I could fix it, and she said she'd leave it and come back. I said, no, it would just take about ten minutes. She was incredulous at that. So, I got a little crochet hook and fixed the dropped stitch, then tied it all back together. Even I was impressed--you couldn't tell I'd been working on it!

The lady wanted to pay me, because she adored the sweater and was thrilled to have it back, but really, I just did it to be nice. Heck, it was fun to fix it! When she insisted I suggested she buy me a ball of yarn. I pointed to the two skeins of Kureyon I was going to pick up, and she insisted on buying me both of them. So, the mystery project will not be too expensive after all, and I won't rue wasted money if it doesn't felt up the way I want it to.

So, good knitting karma all around! Stay tuned for more tomorrow!

Friday, August 10, 2007

I Joined a KAL, Oh My

I have never done a Knitalong before. Shocking, but true. I guess I just never wanted to be making the same thing everyone else is (hey, you tell me, you've been making a lot of popular socks lately!). But still, never done a "KAL." But, when I read about the Campanula for the Cure one, I decided to join. There are a number of reasons:
  1. I was looking for a nice sock pattern to be the next in line.
  2. I had just bought this pink yarn, Pale Fire, in Smooshy by Dream in Color (I bought it BEFORE everyone and her Aunt bought it, honest).
  3. It's raising money for a nice charity in Canada.
  4. My mentor, Roberta Bishop Johnson, died of breast cancer, and I still miss her. (The link is to a tribute to her that I wrote back when I worked for a nonprofit organization she helped shape.)
  5. I have one UU church friend undergoing chemo right now, and at least two other church friends who are doing well after dealing with breast cancer.
  6. My own mother died of cancer (lung, a lifelong smoker) in 1984, and never got to see my children or see me happy with my wonderful man Lee.
  7. Ramona, who started the KAL seems like a really sweet and caring woman.

So, for all these reasons this is the KAL for me.

Like I said, I already have pink yarn (I don't need to post a picture, since someone posted a nice photo of it all in a yarn cake to the KAL blog already). I just need to finish the Neptune socks and off I go! Neptune will get done tomorrow, probably, since I have another long trip to south Texas to see Lee's dad (recovering from haveing a large skin cancer on his head removed, coincidentally). I will post photos.

You are encouraged to join the KAL (linked above). They are giving out lovely prizes to participants. And, most important, the socks are really pretty!

PS: Mystery Pentagon Project is rolling along. I will need to get more Noro tomorrow at the LYS.

Thursday, August 9, 2007

Noro Pentagon

Noro Pentagon
Originally uploaded by sunasak

Here's an enticing glimpse of the project I started at Chicks with Sticks yesterday. While listening to an online meeting at work I had a flash of insight about something I wanted to make, so I marched on over after work and got some Noro Kureyon and another coordinating yarn to get moving on it. That pentagon is the beginning of the project. I think you can see it has five sides from the photo. Tomorrow I will share more of what I am doing with it. Hint: it will be felted, but not all of the item will be felted! And another yarn will be involved.

I was reading about knitting pentagons on one of the blogs I read and it gave me the idea for this thingie. It's a fun shape and will make a great basis for my project!

You'll note that it doesn't have my usual pretty increases, just KFB. And the start is not attractive either--my circular crochet cast-on would not tighten so I just did a Turkish one then turned that into a circle. Next time I think I'd crochet cast on 5 then increase on the first row to ten, knit a row, increase in every stitch again, then commence to increasing every third row, which is what the instructions I read said to do to make it come out nice and flat.

Since I am going to felt this, I am not too concerned about how the center and increases look. They will get all smooshed up in felting (yeah yeah, I know it's really fulling). At least I hope so. I just realized I now have a front-loading washer. I hope it felts.

Still working on my Neptune socks at work on lunch break and whenever we go anywhere and I am not driving, so they will get done. I am almost to the heel. Everyone at the yarn shop admired their extreme loveliness.

Tuesday, August 7, 2007

Blast from the Past: EntreLucy Bag

EntreLucy Bag
Originally uploaded by sunasak
I have no current knitting excitement to report . I am just knitting away on the second sock of the pair I posted about yesterday. Its name is now Neptune, as the colorway was re-dubbed by a sock-knitting list member after a discussion of why colorways make no sense, with "Hercules" as an example. The colors are more Piscean/Neptunian!

So, with that little news I decided to post another past project. I believe this bag was knitted around the holidays in 2005. I was in a big craze for knitting entrelac after the Winter Olympics, when I made my first entrelac felted bag (I posted about it here .) I was enjoying that whole knitting backwards thing so much that I wanted to do more. And I had a bunch of leftover Silk Garden from my modular vest (posted about here ). So, I got out the trusty ole Lucy Bag pattern and looked at it. Sure enough, the base ended up with exactly the right number of stitches to do some number of 8-stitch motifs in entrelac. I knitted up a bottom and then entrelac-ed to my heart's content. Of course, I had to go buy another ball of yarn, ruining my virtuous idea of using only stash for the bag. But it's OK. I liked it a lot. I even liked my seed stitch handles. Nice texture and I like seed stitch a lot now that I am a continental knitter (hated all that switching back and forth when I knitted the other way).

Then I washed it. Why? Because someone at the LYS had wondered if Silk Garden would felt. I didn't think so, but decided to see what would happen. Wow! What happened was that the Silk Garden got very very soft. It didn't shrink much, maybe a bit. But WOW is that a soft bag.

I use it to carry projects, though right now I am using other bags more. I should have lined it, because needles poke through it. But I hate to sew anything other than a rectangle.

There's a woman who comes to the LYS who made a similar bag in shades of purple and felted it. But she used entrelac on the bottom, too, making smaller and smaller diamonds. That is one beautiful bag.

Monday, August 6, 2007

Monday's New Thing: Textured SeaCell Sock

Textured SeaCell Sock
Originally uploaded by sunasak

Happy Monday. Though I didn't post this weekend, I got good solid knitting in, and here's the result.

This sock is really attractive in person, perhaps the nicest looking sock I ever made when it is on a foot. It has some kind of elegance that is hard to describe. The colors are so subtle and change ever so slightly throughout the sock, making it less "harsh" than some multicolored socks.

It's a toe-up version with a "normal" toe and a very interesting heel that's found in Wendy Johnson's eyelet lace sock--uses short rows combined with increases to make a nice rounded heel turn.

I am sure glad I finally settled on a pattern. As a reminder, The one I chose came from a Wild Horse Farm pattern called Bees Knees that I bought online. It uses an interesting texture created by using an SKP then knitting into the passed stitch. That makes the colors mottle a bit more than they do in the plain stockinette part. You can see it pretty well if you click the enlarged image. The top is just a 1x1 rib with the stretchy bind off where you knit two together over and over. I used a larger needle to bind off, and perhaps went a bit overboard on it. But it sure goes on easily.

The Sea Wool is nice. Sometimes it gets a bit "squeaky" when you are knitting tightly. But it has a nice sheen, and is twisty, which I like. One little issue is there are some slubs and little undyed spots. I will say they add character, because the parts that ARE dyed are just lovely. Whoever does the Fleece Artist dyeing does a wonderful job.

PS: new info: socks are now named "Neptune" in honor of an email list member who said that's more like what the colors looked like, rather than Hercules

Thanks to All

Thanks to those of you who commented on the Forget Me Not socks. It's so nice when the designer sees her work knitted up by someone else and commenting, so thanks to Laura!

I am also grateful for the suggestion from nrdgrrl (I fixed the spelling) on how to do the original Sea Wool pattern more successfully. It's funny--the way I don't get ladders when using DPNs on socks is to not knit the border stitches too tightly--I should have thought of that for these socks! Especially since I am well known as NOT a tight knitter in the first place! I will give that pattern another try, because it is a nice looking option for hand painted yarns.

I really like how bloggers help each other with patterns--how Yvonne P and I knit the socks at the same time and kept each other updated. And how people share such helpful suggestions with each other. Thanks to all who read this, and please, leave a comment if you wish--I like hearing from you and visiting your blogs, too.

Friday, August 3, 2007

Forget Me Not Socks, the Pair

Forget Me Not Socks, the Pair
Originally uploaded by sunasak
Here at last is a photo of the socks I finished on Tuesday. I forgot to upload the photo yesterday, but it IS a good one--the colors are really accurate.

These socks, Forget Me Not from a pattern I linked to on July 31, are really comfy and soft. Panda Cotton really feels "dry" to the touch and has a very matte sheen. They just look and feel like they will be cool summer socks! I'll test that over the weekend! They also look good with capri-length pants, which is not true of regular-length socks IMHO. And pastels were a nice break from my trend of more saturated colors. All in all, even though the edge is a bit loose, I liked these socks. I like the second sock better than the first, because I tightened up my knitting and the holes came out looking better. Also the pooling was more interesting with the slightly tighter gauge.


So, with all the socks I knitted from late June until the beginning of August, you'd think I'd be zooming off on my next one.

Nope. I have this beautiful Sea Wool sock yarn in the amazing colorway Hercules (pictured in the sock yarn post on the top). I cast on for the socks on the yarn label, like I mentioned in my last post, and got 3 repeats into the pattern on Wednesday. Well, ICK. My crappy knitting style, or the fates, or something, caused there to be a gap between the K2tog and the SSK. No matter how tightly I yanked those stitches, the gap was there. It didn't help, probably, that the gap was strategically placed to fall between needles (however, I was magic looping, and even gapped where there was no needle break). WAH. I'll try the pattern some other time, because I do like it.

Then I said OK, I will try the eyelet lace free Wendy pattern on the Loopy Ewe site. I made a really nice toe with a wonderful Turkish cast-on and marveled at the things the yarn was doing. Then I did 3 repeats of THAT pattern. Well, it looked like crap. You could not see the eyelets and the knit accent stitches were big and stretched out. The yarn and the pattern did not like each other. So I frogged that, but kept the pretty toe.

I said, OK I will make something up, as we were driving to Artz Rib House in Austin to eat barbecue and listen to the fabulous Chris Gage and Michael Austin (plug for friends). I tried a slip stitch pattern that resembled linen stitch. Well, yes, it looked good. But, duh, the slip stitch part was shorter than the bottom of the foot part. Nope, couldn't do that one unless it was only on the leg, and it would take up a lot of yarn. Frogged that.

Came home in a foul knitting mood. I knew what I wanted. It was something with a uniform texture that would mottle the colors even more than they already are, to make it look "tweedy." Then, lo and behold. I spied the package that had come in the mail from Loopy Ewe land. It contained a pattern for a very simple sock featuring a nifty texture pattern based on doing something interesting with a slip one, knit 1, PSSO (not an SSK). AHA! I tried THAT one, and yay!!! It looks really cool. Even Lee said so ("That part of the sock looks different. It's cool.").

So, on the fourth try, the Sea Wool socks are at last chugging along.

Bonus, Mail Call

Though I have made all these socks in the past 5 weeks or so (like, 5 pairs!) I now have more sock yarn. I am having a HARD time resisting the work of fiber artists. And today's mail contained two more sock yarns--one is that Smooshy Dream in Color yarn in "Pale Fire," which is pink with tinges of mauve/light purple in it. The other merino blend sock yarn in really subtle and lovely shades of violet and is called New Jersey in Superwash Me by JK . Oh I am bad. But, but, I did manage to buy nothing in the latest release of stuff at that addictive site!! And I even got to it before it was totally picked over!

OK, so...I also got two sock patterns, that simple one I mentioned earlier and a complex Cookie A model. AND those cute wooden sheep sock blockers everyone else seems to have. They will make sock photo time a little easier, and are just so CUTE. I think I' will keep recent socks on them, and put them on display.

Wednesday, August 1, 2007

More on VK 25th

I posted some stuff about the Vogue Knitting 25th Anniversary issue yesterday, and noticed I got a lot of hits from it. I guess people are looking for reviews. I felt a bit bad, because I'd only reviewed about half the magazine. I did manage to finish it yesterday. There's so much in there!

I am amazed at the range of techniques, yarns, and styles represented among all the patterns. Some things I don't think I would ever knit, but are fun to look at (the giant folkloric coat with fur trim, for example). But a few seem really nice (especially the lace shawls in the smaller ad section from various manufacturers in the middle of the magazine--a couple of doozies there, especially the one from Alpaca with a Twist--lacy but with substance--could be a lap warmer, too).

I regret being short and not reed-thin when fashion dictates a lot of bulky knits and tunics. There are quite a few longer cardigans and bulky pullovers I would just LOVE to knit, but that would eat me up. (No, the extremely gigantic pullover that's a tribute to a past issue is NOT one of them.) Well, that's really why I don't knit too many garments--the techniques I love (cables, etc.) bulk me up, as nice the Lily Chin article on figuring out what will look good on you points out. I don't have the magazine here, but there is one tunic based on a past pattern that has ribs that use shaping to go in different and flattering directions, which I was very impressed by (I was the first time, too). That one may get knitted.

They also featured the circular cardigan that I did knit (I mentioned it when VK wrote me about putting an image on their site and today I found the link to it--my moment of fame!), which was neat--loved the new colorway. I have to say, though, that some of the items looked better in the 80s/90s colors. At least one checked sweater was so muddled by the new colors chosen that you can't see the pattern. And sigh, no matter what color, I still don't get the appeal of that world map sweater.

Oh yeah, one more point. It's a shame that silver doesn't photograph very well. I think that is one of the biggest problems with all the gray and silver items in the issue. The sheen and sparkle don't come through very well, and they all look kind of bland. I know that most of the items are just incredible in person. There's also a dark purple sweater that you can hardly see in the photos, but I predict is just awesome if you actually see it. That said, all the red items were beauteous.

BUT, that's the thing! There is something for everyone in such a huge edition of a knitting magazine, and hours of fun to read and analyze. I am taking my copy to the yarn shop, hoping I have someone to analyze it with!

Well, that's the best I can do as a quick addendum in which I can't refer to page numbers, pattern numbers or names of things. Maybe I will add references when I have better access!

Knitting: I got more than halfway down the foot on the second Panda Cotton sock, so I should get that done today. I will enjoy them--they look cute with cropped pants, which longer socks really don't. I picked my Fleece Artist Sea Wool sock yarn with seacell in it for my next project. Oh boy oh boy. This is the kind of hand painting I really admire--when I unwound the hank, I saw that some sections of it have different colors in them, which means that the yarn will not repeat the exact same sequence of colors. That will be extra, extra fun. All the colors are lovely, too, deep muted tones of denim, gold, scarlet and turquoise, with browns and mauves creeping in (it is Hercules, if you are keeping track). I looked through a lot of sock patterns last night, too, and of all things, I am still settled on the one on the yarn band, which is a textured peak and valley pattern called Bordello, by Cory Watt (love it when they give attribution!). I like it a lot. However, I will do lifted increases that slant in the appropriate directions instead of KFB because I think that looks prettier and will make for a smoother up-and-down look. And if it looks worse, I will start over. Hee hee.