Monday, October 27, 2008

Some Success

Beyond the Sea Socks

Here's my progress for the weekend. While I wasn't specifically successful - I didn't complete the first sock - I'm calling it a success since I knit about the same amount. The one on the right is actually the first sock, lefty only had 3 pattern repeats done before this weekend. I got just past the heel (you can see the yellow waste yarn peeking out just below my thumb) while watching sports all day Saturday and crap TV on Sunday. I would've made more progress last night, but we saw Henry Rollins at the State Theater and I didn't think they'd let me bring knitting needles in. I was right, they were pretty vigilant at the doors, to the point of pawing through my wife's purse.

I had hoped to spend the weekend knitting on my Accepted Argyles, but my KnitPicks order with the needles I need only showed up this morning. Or so says. I hate their tracking system. I like to think that if they had arrived on Friday as I hoped, I would've finished the first one of that pair. Now, I'll probably switch to those at home and continue on the mystery/beyond the sea socks on my lunch breaks.

Tuesday, October 21, 2008

Sock Wrangling

This weekend, I will have from Saturday afternoon to Sunday afternoon to myself. From now until then, I plan to make some serious headway on my sock problem. I currently have 6 pairs of socks in various stages of completion - from only a leg done on the first sock to some duplicate stitching away from a finished pair. This problem needs to be addressed.

The candidates:

Blue and yellow sockTyphoon Socks
Working up the leg of the first sock with this pair. The yarn is wound into one large ball, so I'll need to stop on the first sock soon and begin the second one.
Pros: stockinette stitch can be done without paying much attention, color changes in the yarn make it interesting
Cons: stockinette stitch is boring
Success = getting past the heel turn on sock #2

Koolhaas SocksKoolhaas Socks
Sock #1 is past the heel turn here as well. Yarn is in separate skeins, so no need to stop on the first sock.
Pros: cables, colorful slubs in the yarn keep things interesting
Cons: sooooo many tiny cables hurt my wrists
Success = completion of sock #1. cast on for toe of sock #2 would be a bonus

06-23-08_1354.jpgAccepted Argyles
Just picked these back up this weekend, knit the heel flap, turned the heel and picked up gusset stitches on sock #1. Realized intarsia, working socks flat and DPNs are one too many variables. Ordered fixed size 0 needle from Knit Picks.
Pros: colorwork keeps it interesting, I LOVE these socks, can't wait to wear them
Cons: high frustration level with yarn tangles, tiny stitches, intarsia
Success = finishing sock #1

image 003Rock 'n' Roll Argyles
One of the first pairs of socks I ever knit. Haven't touched these in months. Only needs ends woven in and black stripes duplicate stitched onto sock #2.
Pros: finishing these would be a monkey off my back, they look awesome
Cons: whew, that's a lot of work, they're too big to wear as is (80 stitches around)
Success = all ends woven in, all stitches duplicated

Mystery Sock 1Mystery Socks
This KAL is toast, they don't fit. As I mentioned in my last post, I have one sock started based just on the cuff pattern. The leg is almost complete, but I can't decide how I feel about the yarn color.
Pros: pattern is simple, yarn color can be interesting
Cons: these are kind of depressing due to KAL failure and yarn color ambivalence
Success = completion of sock #1 (although knitting on these at all might qualify)

carbonite socksCarbonite Socks
As you can see in the photo, these have not been touched since last winter. Progress halted slightly after this photo - the first sock is done. Sock #2 needs the heel ripped out to add increases before it.
Pros: stockinette is simple and easy, I can wear these to work
Cons: frogging hurts my heart, makes yarn barf that is not easily transportable
Success = second sock knitted, but not hemmed

My goal is to achieve success on at least one of these projects as defined above. Two would be wonderful. Three would probably be dangerous as I will probably have injured myself. Feel free to weigh in with your choices or general encouragement. :-) Wish me luck.

Tuesday, October 14, 2008

My Latest Addiction

I started Friday afternoon with a little tuft and after two hour long sessions Sunday and last night, here's what I have.

Blue steel yarn - first spinning
I'm so proud!

This is unbelievably fun, and I absolutely love the color. I'm getting better each time I sit down to spin. I've only had a few accidents so far. I drafted too thin at one point and the strand snapped, and another time the spindle went all wobbly throwing the hook off and it went spinning under the couch. That one gave me a heart attack. You know how many dust doggies are under there? The worst part was that a lot of the yarn (it's weird to call it yarn in this stage, I still just think of it as fiber) unraveled from the spindle and I needed help from my wife to untangle it all.

The fiber is superwash merino from Zaruela's Fibers on Etsy. You definitely need to check it out. Jessica has some lovely colors up for sale.

Blue Steel roving
Blue Steel - Jamie Lee Curtis has nothing on me

Mystery socks update

These are proving to be mysterious indeed. I've now frogged three times. The first try that I described in my previous post - twisting the YOs - made the sock too tight. So I tried it as written - knitting the yarn overs the correct way - and it was still too tight. Now, I'm going to try going up a needle size to work the cable pattern.

The other sock - the one with ribbing instead of lace - I frogged back and just decided to carry the cuff pattern over the whole leg. If the cables don't work out, I'll at least be on my way to one complete sock...

Thursday, October 9, 2008

It's a Mystery

Kirsten of Through the Loops started a mystery sock KAL and of course I had to join. There is also a Ravelry group for fans of her designs and there are already over 1,000 members! No small wonder, all of the patterns and projects she posts are gorgeous.

Almost 300 people are participating in the KAL, so it's definitely the largest I've ever been a part of. I'm pretty excited about it, so far it's helping to alleviate any second sock syndrome. Because the clues are posted a week apart, I have time to work both sections of the pattern on each sock.

I am taking some liberties with the design though. Kirsten posted two versions, one with cables and one without. I love cables, so of course I chose to do that version, but with two different mods. The first mod is knitting a k2p2 ribbing as the background to the cable instead of the lace pattern.

Mystery Sock 1
See my wee cables starting in the corner?

The other mod is twisting the yarn overs of the lace pattern to tighten up the holes. I wanted to try this because after seeing some spoiler pictures, I do like how the lace creates a ripple pattern. Here's a good example.

Mystery Sock 2
Not much done yet.

I haven't knit enough yet to see how the pattern is going to develop, but I'm encouraged that the holes are closed up. If the 'ripple' pattern shows well enough I might choose this option. Or maybe I'll just end up with a fraternal pair of socks. :)

If the yarn for these socks looks familiar, you might remember my attempt at kettle dyeing yarn. I never posted a photo of the end result, but I ended up dyeing it one last time this past weekend to try and get more blue into it. It didn't turn out the way I really wanted, but I like it anyway. I call it 'Beyond the Sea' because it reminds me of the colors in the Caribbean.

Beyond the Sea
Somewhere, beyond the sea, somewhere waiting for me...

Saturday, October 4, 2008

Oooh Pretty!

It's about time I got around to this. My birthday was in August and my wife got me an over-sized novelty check for what else - yarn. Now normally, I would have spent it all in one place, namely Knit Picks or WEBS. Inevitably, I would come across some fabulous deal or gorgeous yarn I had to have right after placing a large order and spending all my money. But this time I decided to take it slow. I think it took me two weeks to spend the full amount. The first yarn I bought was the Noro Silk Garden for my mitered mittens. I got three skeins and I have enough left over for a Turn a Square Hat.

My second order was for this:

Merino Basics - Runes II
Runes II

and this:

Merino Basics - Little Zentaur
Little Zentaur

It's superwash merino sock yarn from Germany. Specifically, from Now, I know you all know the preeminent German sock yarn out there on the market, Woolmeise. It's beautiful stuff and I would love to have some, but at present it's not really worth the effort of stalking websites or attempting to trade for it. I was reading a discussion about Woolmeise on Ravelry and someone mentioned the sock yarn from handgefaerbt. I checked it out and decided that with my birthday money I would take a chance a different German yarn dyer.

Kirsten really has some wild color combinations that are much different from Woolmeise. I really dug the orange, if you couldn't tell. The only thing I wasn't completely happy about was the Runes II shown on the website looked to have more of the light blue color than what I received. However, Kirsten dyes each order when it's placed (it takes a while to get it) so I understand why it's different. I'd say it's up for trade, but I really want to trade for the same yarn and I don't think very many people have some. I'm excited to see how it looks knit up and what it will turn into, but I feel guilty casting on for new socks when I have at least two pair out there unfinished.

P.S. - I actually did all three on Thursday: played Playstation for awhile, got some spinning in and knit on my latest cowl while watching the VP debate.

Thursday, October 2, 2008

Quick Hit

Do you ever get into those situations where you have too many options? You just end up standing there slack jawed trying to make a decision? My wife has a work commitment that will keep her busy until late tonight. That means I'm on my own for dinner and for awhile thereafter. I could knit the whole time, play my Playstation - to which I was recently reintroduced, pick my spinning back up (whaaa? - that's a topic for another day), or I could be a good boy and clean the house/do laundry. And that's not even getting into what I could watch on TV. What to do?

By the way, do you like the new design? I'm not 100% happy yet, so it'll likely undergo some more changes, but I do enjoy the larger space for photos in my posts.