Wednesday, February 27, 2008

One MORE reason to love my Hub

He brings me nice treats now and then. :) Hub has been traveling a lot lately and was in fact gone most of last week. He was gone again yesterday, but only for a quick day trip. He stopped in at a yarn store and picked this out for me. It's Manos del Uruguay's newest yarn, a Merino and Silk blend. It's very pretty. Hub choose the colors because they would go with both my plum and red coats. When I got my new plum colored winter coat I tried to find something to match to make some mittens and a scarf out of, but it's proved to be difficult. He remembered. How's that for thoughtful?! And he picked up some handmade dark chocolate covered raisins at a country store he always stops by. I have no resistance to these. They are already gone.

With Hub being away knitting hasn't been moving very fast. That and I've been experimenting. February's SKA challenge was to try new heels. Well... that means they don't always fit. For some reason or another I really want to find a short row heel that will fit me. I had the idea if I added in an extra 10% of stitches to the heel that it might work. Often people say to work the heel on 60% of the stitches dividing it 40-60, but this wasn't enough for me. So I thought why not work it 50-60? That way the instep wouldn't be robbed of any stitches. It was a good idea and I think it would work for a lot of people, but it was still a bit too snug for me. Darn! I think you have to be more in proportion for this to work. I just have a thicker ankle and a narrow foot. And my poor heel is right in the middle. It's just a little hard to work.

So here it is looking lovely... on my second try... first was too pointy. Second, too small.

Then this weekend I came down with a bit of a cold. It doesn't seem to be hitting me full on. First I was achy and tired. Now I have congestion. But not enough to be really sick... just enough to be annoying. I keep thinking 'am I sick or not?!'. Anyway... I wanted comfort knitting and something that would work. So I turned to good old Nancy Bush. First I attempted the Welsh Heel. But it's just plain weird. It has yarn overs in the heel turn. So there are these little holes. I didn't like it. Rip! Then I turned to the Dutch or Horseshoe Heel. Ah... yes, here we go. It's a little different in the construction and I'll admit at first I tried to alter it a bit because I didn't think it would work the way I wanted it to. Um, yes, I had to rip it out. The second time I actually followed the directions. And guess what... it turned out perfectly. That Nancy does actually know what she's doing. (ha ha, snort)

I've lost count of how many times I have ripped and knit this heel. All I have to say is that this yarn is VERY forgiving! It's held up just fine and you can't even tell I've abused it so much.

The Dutch heel is very square. The flap is a little longer than a usual flap. I was thinking it would be too big even on me, but after I turned the heel I saw the reason... you need it for this sturdy square little heel turn.

You know how you usually have a k1 or a p1 after the dec stitch in the heel turn. Well you don't have that here. So all the decrease stitches line up and form a sturdy little square.

This also makes for less stitches when you pick up the gusset and start going round again. So the gusset decreases are spaced out between two plain rows. I kind of liked that part... the less decreasing that is.

So anyway... the socks and I are at peace again.

I've been swatching for some exciting new projects! And no, they are not socks! I've been strong armed into a KAL. Well, maybe not strong armed... but coerced. lol!

Thursday, February 21, 2008


No, you don't need to adjust your screens. I just can't give Miss T any hints!

I started swatching for the secret project. Swatch #1 isn't quite right... going for #2. Things with gauge scare me. Gauge never REALLY matches!

I started a new sock this morning too. I needed something plain. I have been working on the Primavera's, but honestly, I needed to put them down for a bit. The M1's are driving me bonkers. They aren't fun to make. They are gorgeous, but no fun. The sock only needs a toe so I might suck it up and finish it off tonight if I get some time. But I can't really start the second because I stole the needle for the new socks. lol! I did place an order with Knit Picks for a couple more. Two sets of both size 1's are necessary I think. I'll probably finish this darn sock before they get here though... sigh... so slow with the shipping!

So the new sock... it's knitting up pretty wild at the moment. I just went down to the smaller needle size so it should change up. (You know... my 'cheaters calf shaping', knit the top half of the cuff up a needle size) We'll see what happens. I am really liking the base. She calls this her Parvana sock yarn. It's yummy. Julie of Selah fame gave this to me. It was a second. This was a new yarn and she was playing with it a bit. There are great benefits to having an Indie dyer in your knit group!

I have several testers ready for the mitten patterns. Thank you for volunteering! I will have the files out to you ASAP... speaking of which I should get back to that...

Sunday, February 17, 2008

Mitten Pattern Testers

I need a couple of testers for my mitten patterns. I wrote part of each with my very chatty 4Yo in the room. I am SURE there are mistakes! One for the 220 ribbed mittens and one for the cabled mitts. Anyone game? I need you to be fairly quick with this. I know it's the end of winter, but hey... your hands need to be warm next year!

OOPS! Forgot to tell you... you've got to email me! Most people who reply here have a "noreply@blogger..." address, so I can not contact you!

Email to artistjess AT gmail DOT com (You know what to do with that!)

Quick Sunday Post

We had a lovely time at the Ravelry meet-up yesterday. Paradise Fibers generously hosts us twice a month for the entire afternoon! They even provide some snacks and door prizes! (I actually won yesterday! Never win a thing! I got some SOAK samples and some cute labels they make to put into your hand knit garments.) Unlike other knit groups in the area there is room for spinners to set up their wheels. So it adds an interesting dynamic to the room! Fun fun. Yesterday I sat between two spinners. It was so relaxing to just listen to their wheels hum. I was practically napping!

I finished up the Crunch Socks this morning. I could have finished them last night, but I was watching a movie and didn't want to stop and inspect the first toe so I could copy it. So I did it this morning.

Pattern: Basic Sock, Used Heel and Toe instructions from this article by Lucy Neatby.
Yarn: Socks That Rock, Heavyweight, Chapman Springs
Needle: US 3
Notes: I am really glad I tried this heel. I tried a short row heel last summer, but it didn't work out for my foot. It was too tight. This lovely one does fit on my foot. So it's great to know I've got an option when it comes to heels. It might be a bit odd to walk on. Not sure. Guess I'll have to make myself a pair! I was pushed into trying it by the February Sockdown challenge!

I did manage to jam my long foot into it. This was made for a US size 9, my feet, 11's. The garter stitch really has a lot of give!

Well, this again puts me down to 2 WIP's. I guess I need to go wind some yarn and do some casting on eh? I've got a secret project I need to start working on. Sigh... not good for blog, but I'm excited to do it! Hint... it's baby knitting. Not for me! I'm still not sure what to do with the Chocolatier. I'm thinking maybe Anne's new design might be a good choice. Just have to wait on her to finish it up!

What are you up to this lazy Sunday afternoon?

Friday, February 15, 2008

Pretty Valentine Sock

I got the Primavera going and I couldn't put it down. Isn't it pretty?! It fits really well too! Yay!

And don't forget... if you're part of the EW Knits Ravelry group... we've got a meet up tomorrow! See you there!

Tuesday, February 12, 2008


I seem to have taken on indecision as a post-child attribute. Maybe I had it before... I just can't remember that far back into my life perhaps??

Anyway... Since I cast off the Seahawk Socks I've only got two projects on my needles... last night I finished up the first of this pair. Don't freak out. It's Socks That Rock Heavyweight. It's super fast for anyone! I'm making these for someone to give to another someone. How confusing is that? I guess you could call them a commission since I am getting rewarded for this work.

I wanted to play around with it a bit... the yarn did not lend itself to any stitch patterns I came up with. It wanted to be plain and show off it's amazing colors. This picture does not show the amazing-ness... I need sunshine! So I played with the heel and toe. I used Lucy Neatby's article on the Garter Stitch Heel and Toe. It was fun to do and... it actually even fits me! It's nice to know I have an option to the extra long flap's I usually do.

The other one left is Miss E's blankie. I know... it's been a WIP for nearly a year now. You don't have to remind me of that. I've gotten to the last BIG hunk of knitting. It's blocks 9. Two blocks are worked side by side. The instructions say to just twist the colors around each other at the join. I'm pretty certain I'm not doing it right. But I'm also pretty certain that it's good enough. This blanket has been a learning experience! It is far from perfect... why get picky now?!

It is looking awfully pretty though.

Ok, and because it makes me twitchy to only have one sock available to work on, I quickly cast on another pair this morning. I only had time to work two rows and then it was off to my hefty to-do list for the day, but it makes me feel good knowing I could grab them and run out the door. You know... in case the house was on fire or something it's best to be prepared!

The yarn is the Cherry Tree Hill that I tried to make into Monkey's but they didn't work out. This pattern has a couple more stitches and I believe the stitch pattern to be more stretchy as well. So should be fine. It's a pattern called Primavera. I have trouble not thinking of pasta when I think or say it...

Now, I know that STR sock is going to be done really quickly... so I started thinking about the next sock to start. I have yarn I want to use but I'm at a loss as to what to knit with it. It's more Hazel Knits in the lovely Chocolatier color. I had to have some for myself right?! I originally was going to make myself some Chocolate Monkey's after seeing Claudia's. (She's finished them now!) But, after watching January's Sockdown on Ravelry, I'm a little Monkied out. (Cookie A. was the designer of the month) It would still be gorgeous... but, there is also this simple spiral eyelet that seems to be calling me. I also thought about Socks for Veronik, but I did buy another yarn for that that would probably be better... and I was eyeing this one, Artichoke Socks. The picture there does it no justice. Check out this one! There are just SO MANY patterns out there. I can't seem to decide. My brain has come to a gear crunching halt on this one. Any thoughts? I do tend towards the simple. Most of my knitting is done with my kids or other knitters around where my brain ceases to function at any sort of high level. At our last area Ravelry meet-up there were other knitters working on lace. It made my mind hurt to think about trying to manage the half dozen conversations going on PLUS a lace chart?! It's amazing if you ask me!

Well how's that for a rambling WIP post?! Sheesh!

Monday, February 11, 2008

Hawks Socks

Shy Hub declared "I don't model with skin showing." Ha! You want hand knit socks... pull up them pant legs mister! I didn't however, talk him into standing on top of the table. Bummer. I get the best shots that way. I was glad to get him modeling as they just look better than when I model them. My feet and legs are the opposite shape of his.

Pattern: Basic 3x1 ribbing, slip stitch flap heel, 64 stitches
Yarn: Hazel Knits Artisian Sock, Hometeam Football
Needles: US 1.5 (2.5mm)

I LOVE this yarn. LOVE it. I don't think that there has yet been a yarn that I have really wanted to use again... however, this one is. It's lovely. It's got a nice tight twist, but not too tight... it's still smooshy. Yum. It also seemed like it knit itself. When I got them done they were so yummy to hold folded in my hands and squeeze!

I started these towards the end of football season. While the Seahawks did make it into the playoffs they did not make it to the big show. I had been only working on them during games. After they lost I had to just put them away for a bit. Ironically I pulled them out again during the Superbowl. And I finished them up yesterday, ProBowl Sunday. So, now Hub is ready for next season... the last one with Holmgren as head coach... it's time for another Superbowl don't you think?!

By the way... the completion of these puts me at only 2 WIP's! It feels very strange... and good.

Friday, February 08, 2008

Buttery Cables


: BFF Socks by Cookie A.
Yarn: Koigu, KPM, 2181
Needles: US 1.5, 2
Cabled without a cable needle per Grumperina
Notes: I used a slip stitch heel and omitted the purl detail at the toe... only because I neglect to read directions.

The one thing that's important... if you ever want to make these and have more than a size 6 or 7 womens foot... BUY 3 hanks of yarn! I used every last bit of yarn on these socks. The only thing left was the bits I cut off the ends, seriously! Scary. I had started them for myself, but there was no way they were going to make it. As is, they are 9-1/4" long in the foot. I need 10-1/2"... so... be careful with this one!

I learned how to cable without a cable needle for these. Only in one direction though. When I tried it on Moms Scarf I was ok with the front cable, but not the back. Guess I'll look that up if I ever use it again. I didn't like going without a cable needle on the scarf though... too many stitches. But it was perfect for these socks. I love learning a new trick!

I had thought about putting these away for a gift to my Mom or MIL who both have little feet. However, I put in a little extra height in the flap... and Koigu isn't superwash. I just am not sure I trust those two with that kind of washing responsibility! So, knowing that Meghann has a high instep I asked her if they would fit... and she said they would. So Meghann is getting a new pair of socks! Even the Knitter needs a hand knit gift now and then right?

I'm starting to think I have a fancy sock curse. Every time I make a fancy sock, it's too small or I run out of yarn or or... it just never works out. All my fancy socks end up as gifts or frogged. Which is fine in a way, I love giving gifts! But my sock drawer is mostly full of plain knit socks. Kind of funny. Ah someday... someday it'll work right?