Friday, July 27, 2007

Bowties Are For Dorks

Dear Sir, I wish to complain on the strongest possible terms about knitted ties. It's just a bad idea all around. If you try to knit one in stockinette stitch to get a nice smooth surface, it's going to curl like mad, so you have knit it in garter stitch, which just ends up looking awful. I suppose you could double knit a stockinette tube, but when you went to tie the darn thing, you'd end up with a knot the size of a grapefruit under your chin! Just take a look at this poor chap. Who wears a tie with a denim shirt...shit, who the heck wears denim shirts anymore?!

And don't get me started on knitted bowties. I'm against bowties to begin with (unless you're wearing a tuxedo), knitting one only makes it worse. I don't know about you, but I think it would be extremely hard to tie a knitted bowtie. Maybe if you knitted it in a really slippery yarn like rayon or polyester, but then would it stand up? I've already thought about this way too much. Besides, anyone who wears a bowtie without a tuxedo just ends up looking like a dork:

Ok, time to bring the level of this post back to neutral. I'm making nice progress on my black cabled socks. Sorry, no new photos, but I've turned the heel, worked the gussets and started the foot. Unfortunately it's pretty obvious that I'm going to run out of yarn before I can reach the toes. So why am I still going? Well, I tried it on shortly after I finished the gussets and had a hard time getting the leg of the sock over my heel. I'm 99% sure I'm going to frog and add in another cable repeat to ease the tightness of the leg, but I want to know how 5 repeats fit my foot before I do.

If you had told me 2-3 weeks ago that I'd be frogging an almost complete sock, I probably would have cried, but I went into this project with the right mindset. I knew that it was a test pattern and that things might not work out since it was created from scratch. I think if this had been knit from an existing pattern, I probably would have been mad at the pattern by now, put the socks aside and started something else. I've learned a lot while knitting this sock - and I still have a lot more to learn - but I'm really glad I did it.

Speaking of knitting socks, I placed an order from KnitPicks Wednesday that has lots of sock yarn in it. Yay! I also ordered Sensational Knitted Socks like I said I was going to and some yarn to finish my wife's Fibonacci Ribs sweater that I started two years ago now... Let's just hope the dye lot matches closely enough or I'm going to spending lots of time in the frog pond next week. I have plans to make Grumperina's Jaywalker socks with some Memories Cape Cod and Smores as well as some argyle socks with more Palette. Those should be interesting, I'm planning to knit the leg flat for the intarsia (I had a bad experience with stranding) so I'm trying to decide where I want the seam. Also, I was wondering if I could come up with a sort of vertical kitchener stitch to avoid the ridge that mattress stitches creates. I'll have to knit some swatches and give it a go.

Saturday, July 21, 2007

How to make a center pull ball

This came about from a thread on I mentioned how I create a center pull ball of yarn without using a store-bought yarn winder, so I thought I would put together a photo tutorial for those who wanted to see how. Here goes:

Start off by putting 6 inches of your yarn into the center of a paper towel tube. I prefer a paper towel tube over a toilet paper tube because the length gives you something substantial to hold on to.

Next, hold the yarn against the tube with your thumb.

Begin winding the yarn perpendicularly around the tube. Go slowly with the first few wraps, these will lock in the yarn tail that you were holding down with your thumb.

Once you have a few wraps established so the yarn is secure on the tube (about 10 wraps) begin winding the yarn around the tube at an angle.

cpb_004 cpb_005

Once you have another 10 wraps at an angle, turn the tube 1/4 turn and begin wrapping again at the same angle.

After you have these two sets of wraps done, you can begin to slowly turn the tube while you continue to wrap. This will form a more uniform ball than if you continue to wrap multiple times in the same place.

As your ball begins to grow, you can shape it by changing where you place your wraps. If you wrap the yarn slightly away from the tube, a "corner" will form and the ball will begin to take on a cylindrical shape. Keep wrapping the yarn near the "corner" to keep that shape. If you move the yarn closer to the tube, your ball will end up rounder and be less likely to stay put as you pull the yarn from the center.

When your ball is a big as you want it or your yarn is gone, fish the yarn tail out of the tube and lay it on the outside of the ball. I find this helps to keep the tail in order; if you leave it in the tube as you pull the ball off, it falls into the center of the ball and you have to fish it out of the yarn instead of a nice smooth paper tube.

All that's left is to slide the ball off the tube and you're ready to go!
cpb_011 cpb_012

Thursday, July 19, 2007

Photos and promises

Ok, so I made a promise to myself that I would post a picture with every entry I make. I think reading just text is very boring and most of the blogs that I like to read have lots of pictures. So that's my excuse for taking so long to post. I'm working on a sock that doesn't photograph well. I've been putting off taking pictures; first, to get enough done to make a worthy photo; second, to get that 'perfect photo'. I've noticed that a lot of knit-bloggers are also amateur (or perhaps professional) photographers. I am unfortunately no such person. I finally gave in tonight and took a crappy photo under the kitchen light. Yuck.


It's a basic cable twist, 6 stitches wide, 6 rows tall with k2p2*2 ribbing in between. I wanted to incorporate more cables (there are only 5 - a 16 stitch repeat over 80 stitches) but I was worried that it wouldn't stretch enough to be functional.

I'm using KnitPicks Essential and the design is my own. I must admit though that I was inspired by a sock I saw in Charlene Schurch's Sensational Knitted Socks. It may very well be what she had in the book, but I only flipped through it in the book store and remember seeing a sock with cables running down the leg. Besides, I'm going to buy the book, it's sitting in my stash at

Alright, I just can't end this post with that crappy picture, so here is a good one, a shot of Dominica from the cruise ship on our honeymoon last July:
There. Much better.

Tuesday, July 17, 2007

First post

Whew...ok...first post...I'm a little nervous to be honest. I started this blog to keep track of my knitting projects, but also to give my thoughts about the craft and what it's like to be a guy that knits. Hopefully I can bust some stereotypes along with making some people laugh. That's really one of my main goals in life, to make people laugh, hopefully I can accomplish that.

About half of my initial posts will consist mostly of archiving existing finished projects and stuff I'm currently working on. There are a few knitting blogs that I've started to follow, so I have something to strive for there. The other half of my posts will be observations on the knitting world. I have a few topics tumbling around in my brain already, so there's a little something to look forward to.