April 30, 2008

Twisted German/ Old Norwegian

Oh, how I love learning a new knitting skill! Thank you, Ravelry, for helping me solve my sock cuff issues.
New skills often come as a solution to a problem. I'm just starting to become a regular sock knitter and being the inquisitive woman that I am, I'm trying some different approaches to construction. I've been frustrated with the tightness of the bind-off on my toe-up socks. Everything else about them I love, but that bind-off is starting to bug me. And if I bind off losely enough to have nice flex to the top of the sock, then it ends up being floppy and sloppy looking.
I'm sure there's a toe-up solution to this (maybe that'll be my next bit of learning: an elastic bind-off) but for now I'm trying out some top-down socks.

A quick search on the Ravelry technique forums points to the Twisted German/ Old Norwegian cast on as the best for socks. A quick search on youtube pulls up this video:
by the knitwitch which clearly demonstrates the techique. (I love the knitwitch! I learned basic crochet stitches from her videos too.)

So I cast on, knit a few rows, and I'm in love.

Here's what it looks like relaxed. See how it pulls in, just like the ribbing? No big floppy loose edge.

And here it is stretched. There is absolutely no strain on the cast-on edge here - I couldn't even feel a difference in tension between the edge and the ribbing.

Fan-freaking-tastic! I did cast on to a needle one size up from what I knit with, but I may try without that extra protection next time since this is so ultra-flexy.

And I can't post about the start of these socks without mentioning this yarn. Dream in Color Smooshy, in Spring Tickle colorway, aka Heaven. It seems less tightly spun than the jitterbug so it's a nice contrast from my last socks. And its ridiculously nice on the hands. And the color? Makes me want to eat the yarn.

April 29, 2008

FO: Comfy cozy socks

They're done! And I'm wearing them! And I'm in LOVE! On a flight Friday night I finished the second blue chugalong sock. They're a smidge big but still very comfy and I'm wearing them right now. Happy feet!

Pattern: Wendy's Toe-Up Gusset heel sock
Yarn: Colinette Jitterbug in Blue Parrot
Needles: two circs in US 1

I like the construction of these socks quite a lot, but for the next pair I'm going to try something new. For these I did turkish cast-on and regular bind-off. Since I want my next pair to fit more snugly, I'm going to try a top-down sock to see if I can get a stretchy cast-on. I'm so paranoid about not being able to get the sock over my heel!

The yarn does have pretty low yardage, but I had a fair amount left over for repairs. I could probably have added another inch to each sock without trouble, so that's good to know for the future.

April 17, 2008

Crunch time!

It's getting to be crunch time, both in my knitting life and my work life (and my gardening life, but that's just got to be put on hold). So it's about time for an update on the sweater! The whole deal needs to be finished and finish a trans-Atlantic journey by June 14, so time is starting to run out. Especially considering the pile of *real* work sitting on my desk. Thankfully the work clears up in early May, so I should be able to make it happen.

In any case, here's an updated photo. It's about a week old and I've added a few more inches. I'm just about to cast off for the neck hole. Hurray!

In this next photo you can see the bottom of the neck split steek.
I'm excited to start blocking and weaving in ends on this piece. I think that with blocking the pattern will really crisp up.

And! I ordered a sewing machine!! For my last steeked sweater I enlisted a friend's help, so this will be my first time doing it on my own. I have some swatches to practice on and some great instructions online, so hopefully it will all work out well. Eeeeeeeek, steeek.

April 8, 2008

Wrapping myself up in color

It's been cloudy and gloomy outside for almost a week now. I'm in the middle of a challenging section of my sweater pattern and those red socks have been delegated to during-lecture knitting since they take so much concentration.

And then I got a migraine.
I can't read or listen to music when my head acts up, but knitting works just fine. Doing something - anything - takes the edge off the pounding in my brain.

So I cast on a pair of socks. Plain as can be, stockinette socks.
This YARN!

It's Colinette Jitterbug in the blue parrot colorway. I had mixed feelings about this yarn in hank form, but when I balled it up my love grew, and now that I'm knitting with it? I'm having a hard time restraining myself from placing an order for more.
The colors are mesmerizing and on US1 needles it is knitting up to a soft but solid fabric that I can't wait to put on my feet.

April 5, 2008

FO: Pink Fetching

Thanks to Shana for the fabulous suggestion - instead of sweating over the red socks I wrapped up an old WIP, the pink Fetching. It was a super quick knit once I actually started working on it again and now I have a great pretty little pair of fingerless mitts to wear in my cold office.

Pattern: Fetching, by Cheryl Niamath
Yarn: Debbie Bliss, Cashmerino Aran - almost all of one skein
Needles: two addi turbo circs in US6

I cast on five fewer stitches than the pattern since I wanted a snug fit, and I added one extra cable row at the finger end to help prevent the top from flaring out. I also adjusted the thumb placement on the right hand so it would look the same as the left from the top view.
I was worried that I would run out of yarn, otherwise I would have added a full cable repetition more to the finger end of the mitt. Looking at the scant yardage I have left I probably made the right call, but I do wish that there was a bit more knuckle coverage. Still, I think these will get lots of use!

What I learned:
This was my first pair of anything that goes on hands, so it was also my first time dealing with thumbs. This pattern has you knit thumb stitches with waste yarn and then go back, undo the yarn and pick up a few stitches to fill in the holes on the sides. Seemed like a good approach to me, but I'm looking forward to trying another option when I knit some Selbu mittens (hopefully this summer).