Saturday, July 28, 2007

jelly or dye

I was on my way to the farm today to help sell trees.

On the way, I stopped at a small town library. In the lobby, there was a cart with books and videos for sale. There was a poster with prices, among them hardbacks for $1.00, coffee table books for $3.00. I glanced through and found two knitting books. Two of Barbara Walker's treasuries in hardback. The first and the third (charted). I grabbed them up and tried to stay calm. I went into the library and approached the desk to pay. The woman who wasn't busy said $6.00. I started to take money from my wallet and the other woman said "no, it's $2.00, those aren't coffee table books." I'm thinking you guys are nuts, these are classics, why are you selling them, they should be on the shelves (this library has a knitting book shelf that is, shall we say, lacking. I kept my mouth shut, gave the woman $2.00 and was on my way.

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There are no library cards or library marks so I'm guessing they were donations. Lucky for me. Squee!! The rest of this story is that one of the maple man's friends helps occasionally in her church's thrift store. I understand there are were several knitting books on the shelf. I don't know what books they are but I'm certain that I, or one of my Sisters Of the Wool, will enjoy them. (He thinks one of the books may be a Barbara Walker?) Unfortunately, I don't think I'll be getting them until he sees his friend at the fall rhodie meeting.

On to the jelly or dye part of this post:
After lunch, there weren't any customers so I decided to take a walk in the back "field". Usually in early July there are wild grapes, probably muscadines, along the fence line. This is late July but I thought I'd check. Actually, I hadn't planned this adventure, so I wasn't dressed for it. Normally, if I plan to pick grapes, I go early before it gets really hot, and wear double jeans (a pair of dh's over mine) and a long sleeve shirt and boots. The "field" I walk through is quite overgrown with briar and bull nettle and misc. other weeds. With the rain we've had this year, there was a bumper crop of weeds and I had to high step to get over and through them. The first couple of spots where I thought I'd find grapes were bare and the grape vines had a dried leaf look so I was afraid I had missed out. A few hundred feet back, I found some vines hanging heavy with grapes. I had to pass on some as there was a very healthy crop of poison ivy growing below the vines up to almost waist high. On back I found more, and my bag was soon filled with plenty of grapey goodies. So late in the season, all the grapes were well ripened so I didn't have to pick grape by grape. I could grab for whole clusters. Not the clusters like the domesticated supermarket grapes but clusters of 6 or 8. The result was about 7 pounds, weighed roughly by difference (me with grapes, and me without), on the bathroom scale.

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They've been picked over, stems removed, rinsed and simmered. Now they're dripping through the jelly bag, making juice which will be ready for jelly making tomorrow.

Now if you've made grape jelly before, you may know about the mush that is left. It is mostly skins and seeds and if you splash it on your clothes it stains. It normally goes in the compost pile but just now I'm thinking natural yarn dye. And I'm kicking myself for throwing out the plum mush from a couple months ago. I'm saving the mush and plan to dye some yarn, probably some superwash sock yarn because I have to able to wash the mush off. I'm not sure what I need to use with the grape mush to make the dye "stick". At Heritage Arts, the yarn was soaked in vinegar water, and a glug of vinegar was added to the dye cup. White vinegar. In my pantry, we have apple cider vinegar, rice vinegar, red wine vinegar, balsamic vinegar. Maybe more, but no white vinegar. So I guess I'll try the cider vinegar. And I brought home some well water from the farm. The water from the shallow wells that we primarily use for watering the trees has a high iron content. Which I think has a mordanting character. And a high sulphur content. Not sure what that will do to grape mush and wool yarn. I will hope it can't hurt. Stay tuned.

fetching with homespun

I've decided my first plyed (or is it plied) homespun yarn wants to be fetching (from knitty last summer [link])

The pattern calls for a cast-on of 45. My yarn measures, based on wraps per inch, at worsted to heavy worsted (with some sections more like dk, it's my first hand spun yarn y'know) so I thought maybe I'd need to go smaller. I tried 40. It was too big. So I dropped to 30 and it fits, but quite snugly. But I wasn't in a mood to frog and go up to 35, so 30 it is.

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I'm knitting on size 5 dpns, pretty much following the pattern except for the stitch count. I thought I would need fewer rows between the cable-y cuff and the thumb, but repeated try-ons are telling me to keep knitting. I have finished knitting the first smallish ball. I have another ball this size and a bigger ball so I'm pretty sure there is enough yarn.

A question for the spinners among you:
Part of my process for getting this yarn off of the spindle involved winding it onto my ball winder. So I have nice little cakes of yarn. After plying, the yarn is fairly balanced, so I went back and forth on whether I "need" to do the make a skein and soak and weight thing. And I wanted to knit it, so I skipped the skein-soak-weight. Is that really bad? I don't know whether "need" is a "really need to" or a "if you want to" need or a "most people do, so they think you need to". Help please. All opinions welcome.


Friday, July 27, 2007

my toe

I've been meaning to write about "my toe" but haven't gotten a round tuit for a while. If you've been reading my blog long, you may remember another version, but this is the latest.

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One of my Sisters Of the Wool wanted to try "my toe" this week, and though I had given her some guidance, it was a some time back and her notes were not complete, so here goes...

This toe works well for top-down socks, and for after-thought heels. The look reminds me of the line you get with short row heels, but with absolutely no holes. I like the look better than the traditional toe decreases, but that's personal preference.

Basically, the idea is to decrease at each side of the toe area. On every row. On one row, it's ssk and on the next row, it's k2tog. And the decreases share the center stitch.

When you are nearing the point on your sock where you want to start the toe decreases, (it's the middle of my little toe, for me), place markers just before the center stitch on each side of the foot. For example if you have 60 stitches in your sock, there will be 30 stitches between each marker.

Round 1: *Knit until 2 stitches before the marker. ssk slip marker * Repeat from * to *.

Round 2: *Knit until 1 stitch before the marker. Slip the stitch (purlwise) to the right needle Remove the marker. Slip the stitch back to the left needle (purlwise). k2tog Place marker. * Repeat from * to *.
[This stitch slipping is to get the marker out of the way because you are knitting the stitch just before the marker together with the stitch just after the marker.]

Stitch arrangement hints: If I'm using dpns, I arrange the stitches on 4 dpns, with about a quarter of the stitches on each needle, and the markers are at the center point of those dpns. If I had 60 stitches going down the leg, I would have 16 stitches on each of the dpns that had markers and 14 on the other two dpns. After a while, some stitch shifting would be necessary due to consuming the stitches on the dpns with markers. If magic looping, I would rearrange the stitches so that there were 30 stitches on each but the "gaps" are at the middle of the top of the foot and the middle of the bottom of the foot. The same idea would work for you two circ knitters too, I expect, though I don't have personal experience there.

I do these decreases decribed above until I've decreased away about half of the stitches I'm going to decrease. For instance, if my sock had 60 stitches, and I were going to decrease down to 20, I would do the decreases above until I was down to 40. Or 36. I determine the switch over point by trying the sock on. At the point where I decide the sock is close to long enough and I better hurry up these decreases, (when I try it on and there are just the ends of a couple toes sticking out) I switch to double decreases every row. Switching to double decreases at the end gives a nice round toe.

Double decrease round (every round): * Knit until two stitches before the marker. Slip one stitch knitwise. Slip the next stitch purlwise. Remove marker. Slip the stitch back, purlwise. k2tog. Pass the first slipped stitch over. Place marker. Repeat from *.

Stop decreasing when the sock is long enough and you are down to the number of stitches you like. Close the toe with kitchener stitch. Or three needle bind-off. Or however you like to close toes.

Please let me know if this decription is clear. And if you use "my toe", please send a picture or a link.

"my toe" copyright 2007 jdb soapquiltknit
Feel free to use "my toe" in your socks, or your sock patterns, with credit please.


loksins are done

Well, they're very very close. I still need to close the toes. I'm waiting for the kitchener mood to strike. And I need to weave in the ends. And there are extra ends to weave in due to yarn switching because of the dye lot variations.

ETA pics:

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The toe stitches are on hold probably until Tuesday when I will recruit help, to help me like kitchener'ing better.

And a side view of the toe (watch for a my toe post coming up soon)

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Thursday, July 26, 2007

we have yarn

The title may seem a little silly. But of course, you might be saying, we have yarn.

What I mean is that this merino fiber:

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that you may remember from a couple of weeks ago, was spun into these bundles of singles (is there a proper spinner word for a spindle full of yarn? And some yarn that was offloaded from a spindle onto a handy knitting needle. In the most in-elegant way. Spinners, skip on down to the pictures. I pushed the yarn off the spindle and shoved the knitting needle in fast, before the hole closed up, and hoped I wasn't messing anything up. The spindle was "full", perhaps overfull, and I wasn't in a mood for winding the yarn off by hand. And I didn't know I could wind off of the spindle with my ball winder.)

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and then plied into this yarn:

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I'm so proud. My first spun yarn...

Now, this spinning thing, is reminding me of my start with quilting. The first quilt I started was not the first quilt I finished.

There is still this bit of yarn.

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That I spun, ummm, a couple of months ago. I need to clear those singles off of Judy's spindles and get them back to her. [Thanks again, Judy.]


Wednesday, July 25, 2007

another gusset

Loksin #2 is coming along nicely. I started the gusset on Sunday afternoon. I had a hard time getting around "tuit". You wouldn't believe the number of puttering around the house things I had to do to put off knitting that gusset. I don't know what it is with me but it seems like I'd rather do almost anything that knit a heel flap and gusset. Now this sock was waiting it's turn in the knitting queue with the heel flap and turn already done. So it wasn't that big of a deal. But still...

Well, I tried the heel flap pick-ups that Angeluna taught me. It's like "shoop shoop shoop". Those are the sound effects she uses when she's convincing me how quick and easy it is. Now when I picked up the first loksin's heel flap stitches, or rather, when she demonstrated it to me, and I mostly watched, [well, maybe I did a couple of the stitches] all of the picked up stitches appeared on the needle correctly mounted. This time, they all appeared, somehow, incorrectly mounted. As my intent was to knit them through the back loop, and I don't know how to knit a backwards stitch through the back loop, I ran another needle through all to correct the mounts. With minimal grumbling.

Enough talk. We have gussets. Let's show the pictures.

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And sock #2 up close:

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If you look really close, you can see where I changed over to the rosier yarn, then knit a row with the leg skein, then back to rosy, to "feather" in the new color. Generally, it's not a jarring stripey difference though.

Stay tuned for a spinning and plying report tomorrow.


Sunday, July 22, 2007

sock yarn dyeing adventure

Angeluna (of PurlsbeforeFrogs) and Jo (of Celtic Memory Yarns) and I went on an adventure to Heritage Arts on Saturday. For a most reasonable price, Lorelei provided a skein of pre-wetted sock yarn and access to more colors of dye than a person could want to use. And instruction and guidance. And the other dye-ers provided plenty of inspiration.

And the sweet Jo brought me a skein of her merino tencel sock yarn (50/50) with a lovely sheen like silk. With Lorelei's permission, I dyed it too.

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And up close:
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And we have new yarn:

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Angeluna got some of this last week. And I thought about getting some, but didn't. So I called Sue last week. It went something like this "Remember that yarn in the basket? I want it. How much is there? I want it all. Will you hold it for me until Saturday?" This is Texas wool, unlabeled as to yardage and weight. At home, I have weighed it and done some yardage calculations. My scale and Excel are so handy. I have 10 skeins of the lighter brown totalling 570 grams which should be about 990 yards (based on the weight of 10 yards and ratio calculations). Now this could be clogs and bears. And maybe brown chickens. Or it could be a cardigan if I had about two or three more skeins. Anybody willing to trade three darks for three lights?

In other knitting news, there is progress on the loksin. I have knitted about 15 grams of the rosier sock yarn onto sock #1 since the gusset. And snipped the yarn. Sock #2 is now getting it's turn with the rosier yarn. Here is the current status of sock #1. [The blue yarns show where row 1's of the chart started. It's a game I was playing.]

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Better close for now. The maple man wants to "play" computer.

p.s. we've passed 10000 views!!


Wednesday, July 18, 2007

in the depths of the gusset

loksin718 003
Originally uploaded by soapquiltknit
Have I told you lately how much I don't like knitting the gussets on a top down sock?


Tuesday, July 17, 2007


A new blog I've recently found that has excellent technical knitting posts, most recently focusing on weaving in ends:

And a cute critter pattern for birds of a feather. I first saw it on Rosemary's blog (couldn't get a link to work), which led me to the free pattern here:
Browse through her free patterns for lots of critters for both knitters and crocheters.

It's knit night tonight so this post will be short. Watch for updated pics of loksins (well, at least one of them) with picked up gussets. I have decided with respect to the color differences in the skeins, to knit both sock feet with the what is left of the rosier skein, then when/if it runs out, I'll finish both sock toes with the other skein. Then, depending on how the socks look, and after soaking the two together to hopefully harmonize the colors (thanks for this suggestion in the comments), I may overdye the pair.


Monday, July 16, 2007

for Debbie

This is a knitting blog with lots of knitting content and little personal content.

However from time to time there are personal tidbits and glimpses. And this is one of those times.

You may have read on Claudia's blog about her bike ride to support the Multiple Schlerosis society. Last night I got an email from my nephew's wife about their support for a team of bike riders from my home town. One of the riders, Justin Brickman, [link] is riding for his mom, Lynn Brickman, and in memory of Debbie Fox.

Debbie lost her fight with MS in 2000. Debbie was my baby sister.

Sunday, July 15, 2007

loksins at the heel flaps

The loksins are closing in on the end of the heel flaps. Here is their first "together" picture:

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Actually, they might be farther along by the time you read this. I wanted to get the pic outdoors with natural light. There was a chance of being carried off by mosquitoes but I managed to swat them away. Seriously, some of the pictures were blurry, I think, because of the swatting. Our recent rains seem to have resulted in a bumper crop of mosquitoes. But I digress.

Do you notice anything? Do those socks look a little different? They do to me, and it makes me groan to think that I had knitted almost two full legs before I held them up to each other, in light where I could see them clearly. I have checked the ball bands. They are the same color number, same dye lot. But one is just a touch pinkier. And one is more tannish.

I'm taking them down to the heel turn, each on their own ball of yarn. Then I'm going to ponder what to do next.

another hat

Remember that pile of blue and green yarn scraps gathered for the car trip? [link]

Well, there's only this much left:

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There were 140 grams of odds and ends in various shades of blues and greens. Now there are 40 grams. 100 grams of stash busted. Yea!!

Here it is, up close:

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That bit of sparkle was a golf ball size of multi-colored fingering weight, probably a wool silk blend. Here's a pic of the last bit that was left. I wanted to get a pic before it got knitted in. The last yard or two had a fuzzy character like it might have been knit and frogged a time or two?

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And the hat, finished, with ends woven in:

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Just for the record,
yarn: mostly wool, mostly worsted weight, plus the fingering shown above, 3 strands held together and knitted as 1, 100 grams
needle: size 10us 16" circ
cast-on 61 (an odd number, I know. I pulled out a length of yarn that seemed about right for a long-tail cast-on. I cast-on stitches. As I ran out of tail, the collection of stitches seemed to reach around the circ nicely, so I declared it good and commenced knitting)
pattern: my own, here it is for all to share, I'm claiming copyright for stockinette hats knit in the round with three strands of wool bits and pieces and a cast-on of 61. Knit one for someone you care about. And/or for a person who doesn't have a hat.

cast on 61, join for knitting in the round (I like the bumps on the public side, but suit yourself)

knit one row

k1 p1 one row

knit round and round for a lot of rows until the hat is almost long enough
change yarns as little balls run out, or as the mood strikes. I used spit joins mostly to save myself from lots of ends to weave in.

decrease 5, evenly spaced around (to get down to 56, a multiple of 7)

do your favorite top of hat decreases (I like ssk's in a 7 point decrease, let me know if you want details.)

Some people like to ask me, "Who is that hat for?"
Well, I really like this hat. And the maple man likes it too. It fits both of us. So even though we both have a hat, we're keeping it. For a spare.

We have discussed the (hand) washing requirements.


Saturday, July 14, 2007

Heritage Arts

The loksin sock and Angeluna and I went on a little field trip today.

We went to Heritage Arts on Beaumont Ranch in Grandview, less than an hours drive from home. Angeluna was driving so I got to knit some. ;-) The shop has a quaint old west look from the outside:

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And there was lots of that blue sky:

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But just inside the screen door:

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there was yarn:

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But the Lokskin sock visited the wall o' fiber:

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Actually we should have taken our fiber wall pictures before we shopped the wall. We tried not to make too big of a mess, and clean up after ourselves some, but let's just say the wall was a little fuller of fiber before we got there.

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There was also dye and yarn for weaving and looms and spinning wheels and all manner of other fiber-related goodies. Their website is being updated so check back later.

Here's my new stuff:

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some hand-dyed merino in a color called mohave and some white wool and a new student spindle that is sturdy for learning and practicing and a Hokett Would Work spindle in Paduak wood [no website found but here is a link to some info].

Check out Angeluna's blog [link] for another report.

Signing out for tonight. I'm off to play with my new fibers and spindles.

hats = car trip knitting

The pink hat is nearing the top-of-hat decreases:

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And knitting on the loksins is coming down the leg, but is perhaps not car knitting while chatting (about knitting)... so there may be a new hat:

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from this collection of yarn scraps. There are 140 grams. Mostly worsted weight wools with a few sock yarn scraps and at least one bit of leftover acrylic. I plan to three strand it on a size 9 circ. Not sure what the cast-on will be, and I'll likely not count it as I cast-on. Blasphemy you say? Well, when you use a 16" circ, a "right" number of stitches just "works" around the circ. And I'm not sure who this is for. Depends how it turns out, it may be for a larger child or an adult. It may be for a homeless person. Or maybe it will be for me? Actually, it is for mindless knitting and stash/leftover busting; the hat result at the end is a bonus.

Friday, July 13, 2007

cable swatches

My Sisters (of the wool) know that I sometimes read knitting patterns for fun. They sometimes call me the pattern whisperer. Yeah, maybe I'm a little weird. In any case, I have a queue project to make irish moss from Starmore's aran book for the maple man.

There is one cable chart for irish moss that has puzzled me recently. Actually it's two charts, one that crosses left and another that crosses right. You are knitting along with 1x1 rib tbl over 7 stitches and then 3 or 4 cross. And some of the colums, from the cable needle (I do own a set but they're never handy when I'm in a cabley (is that a word?) mood), change "mode", during the cross over. What I mean is that the k1tbl's turn into purls and the purls turn into knits.

So I had to swatch it:

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And it works, as written. The middle cables in each set are my attempt at an "improvement" which as it turns out is ok but it's not an improvement at all. So my mind is at ease. I can quit reading that chat and saying "what?", or "surely this can't mean...".

Thursday, July 12, 2007

tofu beach sarong

A pattern comment post...

The project from the snb page-a-day calendar for weekend is called a Tofu Beach Sarong. It suggests Southwest Trading Company Phoenix (100% soysilk). I have some questions:

1) Why would you use a handwash-or-dryclean, dry-flat yarn to knit a beach cover?

2) If a beach sarong is knit 38" square, is it really a small afghan with a fancy name?

3) If a 38" garter knitted square ties around a model's hips with two ends tied so that the ties hang down 10 inches or so, what size is the model? No, the "sarong" is not tied around her diagonally.

So, though there is nothing technically wrong with the knitting instructions for this project, I wouldn't recommend it.

Wednesday, July 11, 2007

loksins progress plus

There was loksins progress at knit night last night. There was some risk that I would not stay on the right row or would miss a yo or a decrease but all seems well with my sock. This is the cuff and start of the leg of the second loksin sock:

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The first loksin is waiting midway through the heel flap.

And there is mindless knitting, another hat. I thought it was a baby hat, but now I think it's a little girl hat. We'll see what size it turns out to be.

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There were many calculations based on ball band (kp crayon) gauge. But there was no gauge swatch as there is no definite intended recipient, so whatever the end size, it will fit someone. And as it turned out, I stopped short of my intended cast-on because, well, it seemed big enough. I knit a few (maybe 3?) rows of ribbing so I didn't get any roll at the bottom, then commenced stockinette, which will continue until I am sick of it or I get to about 5 or 6 inches. Then there will be top-of-hat decreases, probably around 7 decrease points.

The crayon yarn was purchased as a tester ball a year or so ago and has been stashed since. It feels soft in the ball, and is knitting up very very soft. It is cotton but is not hard on the hands to knit. I believe it is machine washable and machine dryable so would make nice baby things. And perhaps a nice soft sweater. Someday. After I have knit up some sweater quantities of yarn from the stash.

However, there has been very little knitting this evening. Because... I found a box on my porch tonight. My kp order with three new books from their 40% off sale. Two ez books which I've been reading this evening Knitting Around and Knitting Workshop. And Amy Singer's No Sheep for You.
Elizabeth liked 7 decrease points too.

Sunday, July 08, 2007

hey hey its the monkees

I couldn't resist. Some of you can guess my age if you also remember the Monkees show.

Here we have the finished Monkee Monkey socks:

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The Monkey pattern is available on knitty [link] and was written by Cookie A. I knitted mine toe up with a heel adapted from Widdershins, also on knitty.

Many of you may know I'm a swatch proponent. Sit down now, as I did not swatch for Monkey, nor do I usually swatch for socks. Especially when knitting toe-ups, I can knit the toe, trying on as I go, increasing until it fits. I've knit enough socks for me, (and most of my socks are for me, I'm selfish that way), that I can generally tell within 2 to 4 stitches what will fit me based on the yarn and needles, and the yarn's similarity to a yarn I've knit before.

Back to the swatch topic, as I've confessed, there was no Monkey swatch, but I have a concern. I think these socks are destined to be a gift and I need to give care instructions. The ballband says Handwash Dryflat (like it's one word?). So I knit a swatch. After the sock. It's kind of a wimpy little swatch, with a cast-on of just 12 stitches. Two garter stitches on each side, mostly except for the row where I forgot (oh well), with eight center stitches. My Monkey gauge is 8 spi.

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Then the swatch went for a swim, in a teacup of cool water. It's drying now. Next, I plan to test washing it in the washer on extra gentle and see how it comes out. There are some handknit socks that will likely get washed tomorrow so the swatch may go along. Perhaps in a lingerie bag so he doesn't get lost.

Just for the record:
Monkey socks started with a toe swatch June 9, 2007 (declared a real project June 18)
Finished 7/8/07
Yarn Panda Wool Cinnamon (9798 Lot B) 2 50 gram skeins (about 12 grams left) 46% bamboo, 43% wool, 11% nylon
Needles Knitpics 32" circ size 1.5us (2.5mm)
Pattern Monkey by Cookie A
Changes toe-up & custom cuff ribbing

I've been promising to share my Monkey cuff ribbing "pattern". When I examined Monkey 1 closely I found that I had minor variations in the cuff from the front half to the back half. I made a couple of adjustments when I cuffed Monkey 2 and it seemed to work fine. I'll bring them to knit night for a close look to see if anyone can spot the adjustments. The cuff pattern has k3, p2 and k1,p1 sequences. My idea was to continue the flowing-up-bands from the pattern as k3's into the cuff. The stitch sequence below starts at the same point in the sock where you might have started the p4 in row 2 of the chart.

*(p1, k3, p2, [k1, p1]3 times, k3, p2, k3, p2, [k1, p1]3 times, k3, p1) repeat from * once to knit 1 round of ribbing

I knit 14 rounds of ribbing on Monkey.

I'm not sure if this ribbing pattern would be useful to those of you who knit Monkey top down, but feel free to use it as you like.

Saturday, July 07, 2007

more Regia hats

This post may be untitled because I can't seem to get blogger to let me type a title. If it decides to cooperate tomorrow, maybe I can add a title.

eta a title. I found some help file that said to point the cursor to the line above the title box. It seems to work

If there had been a title, it might have been something like "more Regia hats"
But all this fussing with blogger has used up my time, and sapped me of some of my words, so you get pictures:

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And close up detail, hat 1 first then hat 2:
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Cast on for hat 2 was 85. Same size 6us kp circ (16").

There is still yarn left. I haven't weighed it but there's not enough for another hat. I could do some little socks but I'm thinking I'll collect all the little balls and do a grab=several-yarns-randomly and knit a hat on big needles like I did last fall.

There is progress on the monkey socks. There would be more progress if I would stay focused and quit getting distracted by baby hats. Watch for a finished pair pic tomorrow or Monday. And the promised detail about my rib variation.

Friday, July 06, 2007


I got my invite from ravelry today and have lost an hour or two already.

I've adopted a new name. I'm patternwhisperer. If you're on ravelry, add me to your friends list. If you're not on ravelry, head on over there and sign up.

I have a flickr account from my sock madness days but all my blog and project pics are on photobucket. I think I'll wait a bit to see if they connect up with photobucket. I'm not in a mood to duplicate all my pics onto flickr.

Thursday, July 05, 2007

one sock at a time... sort of

Brown Berry is having a group discussion on her blog about skerry knits. Several people have mentioned knitting two socks at a time.

Well, I'm here to say, I've tried it and it's not for me. But I'm not skeered of it.

I'm not a two circs sock knitter. I would say that my natural style is dpns, but I'm quickly becoming a magic loop convert. They are just so much easier to jam in the ziplock and there's very little danger of escaped stitches.

I can try-on socks on dpns by knitting in a few extra sticks but trying on socks on ML is even easier. When you're at the end of a row of knitting, pull the socks onto the loops, and try it on any old time.

I have tried knitting two socks at a time and it's perfectly workable ML style. However, it requires that I unloop the yarn from skein 1 (for sock 1) from my left hand, find the yarn for sock 2 and wrap my left hand. knit some-unwrap-rewrap-knit some-unwrap-rewrap and so on. I'm a confirmed continental knitter and must have the yarn well wrapped. All this unwrapping and rewrapping slows me down. And there is a risk that I forget the unwrapping/rewrapping and then sock 2 gets knitted with sock 1's yarn and you can guess where this is going. Tink-city.

About the "sort of" qualifier. My preferred method of knitting is bring two socks along together. What I mean is that I'm likely to knit the toe and foot of sock 1, then knit the toe and foot of sock 2. Then knit a heel on each sock, separately but in a close time proximity. Then the sock top of sock 1, another sock top for sock 2...

This paired knitting requires two identical needles available at the same time, and just now one of my fav size 1.5 (2.5mm) kp circ is missing in action. I am sure it is some project (likely socks, ya' think?) somewhere.

So I ordered another one. With some books at the big 40% off book sale at knitpicks.

Wednesday, July 04, 2007

But no hats for Monkeys

We have hats and we have monkeys but we have no hats for monkeys.

Seriously, it has been a lazy day spent mostly knitting. I did get dressed. But not until about noon. And I walked the dogs briefly when the skies threatened to open (they didn't, at least not yet today, for the first time in 10 days).

And dh declared he wanted apple pie, and he peeled, sliced, and cinnamon-sugared the apples, so I made a pie crust. I may be the last person in the US who still does crust from scratch. Not often, mind you, due to the general not-so-healthy-ness of something with sooo much Crisco, but it's good once in a while... and it is a holiday.

Back to knitting content... there are hats finished. You saw the starts of these two recently:

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I knitted the rounds of the regia at at knit night last night and started the top decreases. Finished the decreases this morning. Cast-on was 72. A friend at work, who has young kids, says it's a newborn to 3 months size.

There is 30 grams left on each (of two) balls on this Regia sock yarn, so...
I cast on another hat. I gave the yarn a tug on one ball, and the new hat will have a different, somewhat planned way for the colors to combine and stripe. Stay tuned. It's on hold while I knit socks. And seam up something pink. And available for when I might need truly mindless knitting. One advantage of a hat is that it doesn't need a matching (or not) little buddy, i.e. there is no second hat syndrome.

And we have progress on the Monkeys. This is monkey#2:

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I did the gussets and heels today. [Angeluna, check out the little puddles on the upper arch ankle area. I didn't notice it until I took the pic.] We're on the homestretch now. Five chart repeats and some cuffs and some binding off and we'll have a finished pair Monkeys.

I'm doing something a little different on the cuffs.
I owe you details.

Monday, July 02, 2007

What is it they say about imitation?

It's the sincerest form of flattery.

Angeluna, please do not stop showing me socks.

Seems it has happened before, though I do not remember the specific sock or the specific baby hat,

but here we have a new baby hat:

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Very much like the sock I saw yesterday, shown in Angeluna's purlsbeforefrogs July 1 blog post. Scroll down a couple of screen-fulls.

The sock is the Undulating Rib sock from Favorite Socks recently published by Interweave, a very nice sock book, by the way. I modified the sock pattern to have 5 "plain" rows between the "fancy" rows because of the limited amount of real estate I have in the top of a baby hat. The yarn is Regia, purchased on ebay last year (or the year before, I forget). It was a good deal but I haven't gotten in the mood to knit socks with it and I don't feel the Regia faux fair isle mood coming on anytime soon. So I'm double stranding it on a size 6us circ (yea for knitpicks 16" circs). The cast-on was 72.

This project will use up some sock yarn and keep some baby's head warm. Unfortunately, (or fortunately) I think there will be enough yarn in two skeins of sock yarn to warm the heads of several babies.

Sunday, July 01, 2007

July 1 status

The state of the knitting at chez maple:

finished during June 2007 count 5
brown cestari socks
baby bear
blue baby hat (Briggs & Little Tuffy)
maple man hat (Lorna worsted Tuscany)
little hat like the maple man hat

This makes 12 pairs of socks completed during 2007.

2007 Knitting status 7/1/07 Started: count 7
Monkey socks
Loksins socks
Cat Bordhi lace socks
blue Regia two skein stripes
knitty Grace
pink cotton sweater (This project is knitted, and the seaming is started.)
recycled silk bag

The UFO count last month was 7, and is still 7.

Let's check progress against plans... For June knitting, I planned to finish some projects and knit some stash. Check and check.
I planned to finish two projects for every new project I start. This didn't work so well, but at least the ufo count didn't increase.
I want to knit some Monkey socks. Check.

For July knitting, I plan to finish the Monkeys, and maybe the Loksins. There is an ulterior motive. The monkey finish is a stashalong goal and earns me a free non-expiring yarn day.
There will likely be another hat otn.
I'm going to get that pink sweater seamed.
The recycled silk bag is calling to me. It's been a ufo so long that I may have to dust it. naaa