Monday, December 31, 2007

2007: Year of Socks

It's December 31st—time for the self-indulgent year-in-review post. It appears that I managed to finish 30 knitting projects in 2007, 23 of which were socks. Warm feet for everyone!

2007 knitting FOs
There were, of course, some notable non-sock projects: my first lace stole, an adorable baby sweater, a few scarves, my first adult sized sweater, and some pretty mitts. Item I'm most proud of? Print O' The Wave. Socks I wear the most often? Monkey (followed closely by Drunken Bees). Pattern I have no desire to knit again? Jaywalkers. (Socks I'm wearing right now? Jaywalkers. I am nothing if not contradictory.) 2007 will also remain notable in my memory as the year in which I learned to spin.

There is a pair of socks in the above collection I have not shown you before. These are the socks I gave the Professor for Christmas.

Dublin Bay Socks
Pattern: Dublin Bay Socks (PDF link) by Ryan Morrissey, Mossy Cottage Knits
Yarn: Socks That Rock lightweight, colorway "Lagoon"
Needles: U.S. size 0 (2.00 mm) DPNs
Modifications: Reduced stitch count to 64.

Dublin Bay Socks close
Although I initially started these socks with an allover lace pattern, it soon became clear that this yarn wanted to be something simpler. Enter the Dublin Bay Socks. The easy lace panels on the legs of these socks are a nice detail, and they allowed me to honor the Professor's previous request for "more socks with holes."

This was my first time knitting socks with Socks That Rock, and incidentally, it's also the first time I've ever worried about running out of yarn for a pair of socks. 360 yards cuts it pretty close. I had just about a gram of yarn left after knitting this pair for the Professor's size 7 feet. The socks look great, though, and they have the Professor's seal of approval.

Finally, I started on yet another pair of simple socks while we were in Colorado. At this point, it's unclear whether these will be my final FO of 2007, or my first FO of 2008. I think my sock trend will continue into 2008, but I do have some ideas for other projects jostling around inside my head too. Stay tuned.

felici progress
Happy New Year to all! Stay safe out there.

Monday, December 24, 2007

The end of the frenzy

My holiday knitting is done. Finished. At an end. I just completed the quickest pair of adult size socks I've ever done. This was sock #1 early Saturday morning.

eow sock begin
At this point I was wondering whether I could really pull it off. These socks are for my brother-in-law, the one who showed great appreciation for the scarf I knitted him last year, so I was determined to finish them in time. I knit pretty much all day on Saturday. Here's a progress shot taken around 8:00 Sunday morning.

eow socks prog
At this point, I knew I could do it, and I wouldn't have to be frantically working on them on the plane on Monday. Here's the completed pair at 4:00 pm on Sunday.

eow socks done
That's one pair of socks in under 48 hours. Sometimes a deadline can be a good thing. I can't say I would want to do this again, though.

improvised (2x2 ribbed cuff, 6x2 ribbed leg and instep)
Yarn: Ball and Skein sock yarn (75% wool, 25% nylon), "End of Winter"
Needles: U.S. size 0 (2.00 mm) DPNs

eow sock close
This was my first time knitting with Ball and Skein sock yarn, and all in all I'm quite pleased. This colorway is to die for. It's so multidimensional—really an outstanding dye job. The brown and gray tones make it supremely appropriate for a man, but I would love a pair of these socks for myself too. Dave made a pair out of this yarn several months ago. When I saw his socks, I thought to myself, "Hey, I have that yarn in my stash," and I haven't stopped thinking about it since.

The yarn itself isn't terribly soft—it feels a bit like Trekking or Regia to me—but it's pleasantly woolly, and I'm sure it will be hard-wearing. My skein had two giant knots in it, though. Luckily, the knots were toward one end of the skein...the end of the skein that was left over after I finished this pair (great yardage!). The knots are probably a fluke. I do have more Ball and Skein in the stash, so I'll find out eventually.

There is one other holiday FO that I have not yet shown. This FO is for the Professor, and since he trolls this blog, it seems prudent to wait until after Christmas to post photos.

The Professor and I are heading to Boulder on Monday for a Rocky Mountain Christmas, so I probably won't post again for a week. Joy and peace to you all.

Sunday, December 23, 2007

Second verse, same as the first

Look, another chevron scarf! (Original specs are here.) I know it looks exactly the same as the first one, but trust me, it is actually another scarf.

When I finished the first scarf, I weighed my leftover yarn and calculated that I could get another 60" scarf out of it. What I did not do was weigh the two balls of yarn separately. I assumed they were roughly the same weight. Amateur mistake! It was panic time when I ran out of Watermelon Tourmaline about 45" into the second scarf.

This is where Ravelry saved me. I posted a thread on the "In search of" forum begging for leftovers. When nothing came of that, I started messaging people who had used the yarn in their projects. This kind of begging very much goes against my personality, but I really didn't want to buy another skein of yarn when I only needed 15 grams. I only got three replies out of the dozen or so messages I sent. Two of those people didn't have what I needed...but the third one did. Huge thanks to the Knitting Bandit for saving the day! Not only did she send me her leftover yarn (more than enough to complete my scarf), but she would not take anything in exchange for it. This is someone with whom I had never before had any contact, and she cheerfully sent me yarn. People are amazing.

So, that's two identical chevron scarves complete. How about two pairs of identical mitts?

dic serpentine done
Pattern: Serpentine Mitts, by Miriam Felton
Yarn: Dream in Color Smooshy, "Cloud Jungle"
Needles: U.S. size 1 (2.25 mm) DPNs

dic serpentine close
I had never knitted mittens or gloves of any kind before these, and I must admit that I'm smitten with mittens! (Groan.) These were so quick and fun to knit that I'm already planning to make a pair for myself. I got two pairs out of one skien of Smooshy, with a generous amount of yarn left over. This is the first time I've knit with Dream in Color, even though I have been, um, collecting it for several months. I was not disappointed. No pooling!

The day after I cast on for the first pair, I found out that Angeluna had cast on her own pair the same night I started mine. We had never discussed the pattern before. Clearly she and I have some kind of psychic bond...or the same impeccable taste at the least. Angeluna is knitting hers in Wollmeise, and I know they're going to be stunning.

dic serpentine model

Thursday, December 20, 2007

Little things

In one of my previous posts, I mentioned that I took two days off work to knit. Here is the result of that decision.

blue trek
Pattern: improvised (1x1 ribbed cuff, 3x1 ribbed leg, heel flap, stockinette foot)
Yarn: Trekking XXL, colorway 71
Needles: US size 000 (1.5 mm) DPNs

Yes, I knit them in three days, and yes, I really used size 000 needles. (Please don't throw your needles at me! But yarn? Yarn you can throw.) These are 64 stitch socks, and they will fit my five-year-old nephew. Why did I knit them at such a tight gauge? First of all, I'm a somewhat loose knitter. My standard sock needle is size 0 (2.00 mm), so going down two sizes wasn't that much of an adjustment. Second, Trekking XXL is a thin fingering weight, and I just didn't like the fabric I was getting with larger needles. And finally, I figured little boys are hard on their socks, so I wanted to give my nephew socks that had some hope of lasting until he grows out of them.

blue trek close
I am endlessly charmed by the random stripeyness of Trekking XXL. It reminds me of handspun yarn. And this colorway? Awesome. It looks almost black in low light, then brilliant blue in natural light.

When I was in Salt Lake at the end of October, my nephew was quite interested in the green socks I was knitting at the time. He told me that he would like to have them (despite the fact that they were men's size 10). In response to my raised eyebrow, he changed his mind and announced that he would like blue socks. Blue socks it is, then, and not a moment too soon. He has almost grown out of the socks I gave him last Christmas.

BTW, I used HiyaHiya stainless steel DPNs for this project. Initially I was worried that they wouldn't be slick enough for my liking, but they were great! And to my amazement, I didn't bend a single one.

Monday, December 17, 2007

Must. Knit. Faster.

I'm starting to see the light at the end of the tunnel (or is that a train?), but I'm not there yet. Life becomes stressful at this time of year as I worry about getting all my gifts shipped on time. Blogging has been lowest on my list of priorities, but I still feel guilty for neglecting the blog for so long.

I will post some real content later this week. Actually, I have quite a bit to share: a scarf, a pair of socks, some mitts, and a story about why Ravelry is so great. Please bear with me. Here's a sneak preview.

dic sm close

Tuesday, December 04, 2007


It seems I've been coming up with reasons not to blog. For example:
  • It's too dark to take photos.
  • I've got some super-secret knitting that isn't yet bloggable.
  • My other projects are, well, not terribly interesting.
  • Did I mention it's too dark to take good photos?
  • Why blog when I can bake?
However, I don't want anyone to get the impression that I'm slacking over here. There has been some spinning.

prs corr bobbin1
Not just one bobbin, but two (of three).

prs corr bobbin2
The roving is some Corriedale I got from Pigeonroof Studios. Me like very much.

And there has been some finishing. This time it's more slipper socks for my mom.

cabled slipper socks done
Yarn: Knit Picks Swish Superwash, "Indigo Heather"
Needles: U.S. size 4 (3.50 mm) DPNs
Pattern: improvised, but the cable pattern is from Big Book of Knitting Stitch Patterns

cabled slipper sock close
Mom's favorite color: check. Interesting but easy cable pattern to keep the knitter entertained: check. I'm starting to understand why some knitters knit small projects exclusively. There's something to be said for (nearly) instant gratification.

Since I have a few vacation days to burn, I'm taking Thursday and Friday off to knit. How decadent! OK, so I might have to squeeze in some housework (houseguest arriving soon) and some holiday errands, but officially those two days are for knitting. Really. I might even be able to muster up some more blog fodder.