Friday, March 30, 2007

Here we go...

The new pattern and needle size are working so much better! I am using size 2.0 (US 0) needles with Lorna's Laces Shepherd Sock in Desert Flower and the spindle pattern from More Sensational Knitted Socks. I should be casting on for the second one in no time. (In the picture, if you look very closely about halfway down on the right side you'll see a little bit of red. That's where my peasant heel will be going).

Janet in Houston asked me what gauge I get with Inox US 0 (2.0mm) and Lorna's Laces Shepherd Sock. Short answer is 9 stitches per inch. Long answer, which my knitting Group is all too familiar with, is that everyone knits differently and you have to swatch it to find out. I'm never sure how much information people want or need when it comes to sock sizing, but I'll give you the general overview of how I size my socks.

First, I figure my gauge (stitches per inch). Sometimes I swatch to find this, but I've also been keeping a list of socks yarns I've knit with in the past and what gauge I got on certain needles - no need to swatch! The most important thing to remember here is that you can't let a pattern or someone else dictate what needle size to use. Those are just suggestions. You have to be happy with the fabric. For example, Lorna's does not look good to me on US 1's. It just doesn't. I get around 8 stitches per inch on US 1's and that just doesn't look as good to me as 9 stitches per inch which I get with US 0's. Someone else might like it, or they might get 9 stitches per inch on US 1's. We all knit differently. That's what keeps things interesting. :)

Secondly, I measure around the widest part of my foot. This is pretty self-explanatory. Just measure snugly around the wide part right above your toes.

Thirdly, multiply your gauge and your foot circumference to figure out what number to cast on (or what number to increase to if you are doing toe-up). For example, in my case with Lorna's on 0's, that would be:

9 stitches per inch x 9 inches around my foot = 81.

Finally, sometimes it's good to be negative. Ok, that's dorky, but it is true. In some stitch patterns you want some negative ease. Negative ease, the way I think about it, is when the fabric hugs the foot rather than fitting perfectly around the foot. If I knit a plain stockinette sock, I usually knit with about 10% negative ease. So, if my gauge x circumference number was 81, I would probably cast on 72.

81 x 10% = 8
81 - 8 = 73, but I like even numbers, so 72.

With ribbing patterns I usually just find a good number somewhere between the gauge x circumference number and the negative ease number. Whatever works well with the pattern repeat. It makes life much easier (and balanced) if you make sure your pattern repeat divides evenly into your total stitch count.

Ok, so that was the long answer! Hope I wasn't too pedantic and I didn't confuse or bore anyone. That was just a glimpse into my knitting thought process. :)

Thermal is being neglected. I think I'll make this weekend Thermal-only knitting. I'd like to finish it before our Oregon visit in mid-April. That may be overly ambitious if I'm continually distracted with sock knitting...

Wednesday, March 28, 2007

A Pattern for Every Sock

Monday night I happily began knitting the crosshatch lace pattern from the new More Sensational Knitted Socks (see photo to the right). For some reason I decided to knit the Lorna's Laces Shepherd Sock on US 1's. I have no idea why. I know I should only ever knit Lorna's on US 0's, but for some reason I didn't this time. After about 5 inches or so I realized the following:

1) I didn't like the bigger needle size;
2) I didn't like the pattern with the yarn color (Desert Flower);
3) The yarn was pooling in a crazy way; and
4) The sock was going to be a tad too big.

So, last night I started over. Since I had to start from scratch I'm not too far yet, but I can tell already that this pattern and needle size (US 0/2.0mm) is going to work much better. I'm using the spindle pattern from More Sensational Knitted Socks. It's not showing up too well in the photo, but it looks great in person. I'll try to get a better picture once the first sock is finished (and if sunlight ever comes back to the Chicago area). I'm still getting some intense striping, but that's just how Lorna's sock yarn rolls. :)

Since I've refrained from any new yarn purchases for a couple weeks now I have no new yarn to show you. I do however have my awesome new knitting bag that I ordered this past winter in anticipation of spring. My new Offhand Designs Zelda Grand in Posey. I just love the bright cheery color. The handles are a really dark grape purple and the lining is bright pink. It's the perfect size for toting a couple sock projects to Group night. Speaking of Group...

***Knitting Group is Tonight! We meet at the new Starbucks in Wilmette (corner of Lake & Laramie, just to the west of I-94 on Lake Ave.). We start at around 6:30 and go until 8ish. Any yarn enthusiast is welcome!***

Monday, March 26, 2007

My Fashionable Socks

Project Socks
Pattern: My own - Toe up instructions from Knitty, peasant heel
Yarn: Yarntini fingering weight in Self-Striping Make it Work! and a shot of color Carry On!
Needles: Inox 2.0mm (US 0)
Start Date: March 14, 2007
End Date: March 25, 2007
Comments: These socks are fierce! Ok, maybe I'm watching a little too much America's Next Top Model...But I do love these socks. The awesome stripes are all thanks to the Yarntini yarn and I just had to throw in my new favorite toe and heel. The yardage was stupendous on this yarn. Even with a longer cuff, I have a ton left over of both the striped and the solid. Yea! No running out of yarn!

Right after casting off the Project Runway socks I worked on Thermal for a couple hours. I'm nearing completion of the back. If I would just stop knitting socks for a minute I'm sure I'd have it done much sooner, but I got a new sock book in the mail this weekend so I had to put Thermal down and cast on for a new pair. :)

Here is the much anticipated More Sensational Knitted Socks by Charlene Schurch. I love love love her first book and this one does not disappoint. The two big differences that I've found so far are that there are many more toe and heel styles and the stitch gallery has gone from being scattered throughout the book to being collected in the back. I think it's an improvement. I've already picked out the first pattern I'm going to do. I only got through the toe last night so more details Wednesday. (The yarn is Lorna's Laces Shepherd Sock in Desert Flower).

Wednesday, March 21, 2007

Matchy Matchy

Most of the socks I knit I really don't worry about making them identical. The only time I do is when the yarn is self-striping. Then it's part of the fun to see how close I can get. Looks good so far! (Yarn: Yarntini in Make it Work! (striping) and Carry on! (shot of solid); Pattern: None really, using magic cast-on from and peasant heel).

And for those sock knitters looking for a challenge have you seen the 52 Pair Plunge Knitalong? The knitalong starts April 1, 2007 and ends April 1, 2008 and the challenge is to knit 52 pairs in one year. Anyone signing up? Adrienne? Claire? :)

***Knitting Group is Tonight! We meet at the new Starbucks in Wilmette (corner of Lake & Laramie, just to the west of I-94 on Lake Ave.). We start at around 6:30 and go until 8ish. Any yarn enthusiast is welcome!***

Monday, March 19, 2007

Rich Tapestry

Tapestry Scarf

Pattern: The scarf pattern the Yarn Harlot had on her blog
Yarn: Rowan Tapestry in Pot Pourri
Needles: KnitPicks options, size 5
Start Date: November 21, 2006
End Date: March 17, 2007
Comments: This scarf was born of the desire to do something with the (at the time) new Rowan Tapestry yarn. This yarn has soft color shift similar to Noro Kureyon and is a blend of wool and soy. The yarn has an overall interesting texture that is difficult to describe. Probably the best way would be that it feels fibrous. Once knit, this scarf has fantastic drape and sheen. I cast on 42 in order to produce a nice wide scarf and I believe I knit 4 balls, but I have to double check on that. Maybe it was only three...I've been knitting on this scarf off and on for so long I can't remember. The only drawback to the yarn is that it is a tad splitty. Granted, I was using my very sharp Knit Picks Options needles, but even with a blunter point I think this yarn would still be a little aggravating. Overall, I really enjoyed using this yarn and the pattern was super simple. The warm, but light fabric the Tapestry creates, the excellent colors, and the lovely drape more than make up for the splittiness. This scarf also receives the award for longest time to knit a scarf ever. (I think I can hear my knitting Group cheering! They've been watching me knit this thing forever).

I also finished the first Yarntini Project Runway sock! (Blurry picture due to Monday morning camera ineptitude). This sock was so much fun to knit. I love the color combination and the solid toe, heel, and cuff. I used the magic cast on from Knitty and a peasant heel. Now that the tapestry scarf is done I think I'll bring the second Project Runway sock to knit at Group this week. It's perfect easy knitting.

Thermal did receive some attention, but the progress isn't really interesting enough to take a picture. I'm working on the back section right now. It's moving along faster than before, but that really just means I went from the speed of a glacier to the speed of a snail. :)

I'm feeling better regarding Kilby. I spent the weekend cuddling with the other two cats, Laska and Nemo, and that picked up my spirits quite a bit. I do continually remember little things about her, but it's getting easier to think about them. Thanks again for all the kind words.

Friday, March 16, 2007

Life moves on

Thank you to everyone for your kind words about Kilby's passing. Knowing so many people are sending good thoughts our way really does help. I took the day off work today and I've spent time just thinking about how much she meant to me and Matt. I will never have another kitty like her, but that's what made her so special.

Over the last few days I have gotten a bit of knitting done. Nothing like the calming nature of knitting.

Conifer Socks
Pattern: Conifer by Meghan Jackson from the Pick Up Sticks Sock Club
Yarn: Apple Laine Apple Pie in English Garden
Needles: Inox size 2.5mm (US 1)
Start Date: February 20, 2007
End Date: March 14, 2007
Comments: Once I figured out I should actually read the pattern, these socks knit very nicely. The pattern designer, Meghan Jackson, has outstanding attention to detail. Not only is the top of leg done in a unique stitch pattern, the leg is in a different stitch and then she carries the ribbing pattern through the heel and the toe. Pretty cool.

The Apple Laine yarn is one I don't think I would have necessarily ordered on my own so I was curious when I received it through the Pick Up Sticks Sock Club. Turns out I absolutely loved working with it. It's a wool/silk/mohair/nylon blend with a beautiful fuzz and sheen. The colors are deeply saturated and I had absolutely no pooling. I think there is a very very slight difference in the intensity of the color if you compare the two socks, but nothing too noticeable.

Wednesday night I started my next pair of socks. These are being knit in Yarntini's Project Runway colors, "Carry On!" and "Make it Work!" in fingering weight. I'm knitting toe-up to maximize the yardage and that way I can do my new favorite heel - the peasant heel (you can just see the waste yarn below the top black line). I thought I would do a 2x2 ribbing on the foot and leg, but after looking at it again last night I ripped back to the toe and started the foot over again with just plain stockinette. Much better. For the curious, I'm getting 8 stitches per inch on 0's (2.0mm).

This weekend I'm hoping to spend some good quality time with Thermal. All the socks this week have been distracting me, but I still have hopes of someday finishing Thermal and wearing it. :) Speaking of distractions, here are the new Duet Sock yarns I got earlier this week. The colors are Evening Elegance and Razzleberry. I really just can't get enough of this yarn. Maybe she'll start a sock club...I wouldn't be able to resist a Duet sock club...Are you reading this, Angela? :)

Thursday, March 15, 2007


April 16, 1999 - March 15, 2007

My heart is breaking.
We just put Kilby to sleep. Her whole system was failing. I loved her so much.

Wednesday, March 14, 2007

Worry Wart

Even the arrival of a couple colors of Duet Yarns isn't cheering me up (pictures later). Kilby (my diabetic cat) hasn't been feeling well since Monday. After she spent the day with the vet yesterday we still don't know what is wrong. So far we know it has nothing to do with her diabetes, urinary tract, kidneys, or liver. She's now on an antibiotic, but she is still not eating or drinking.

Knitting Group is tonight, but there is a good chance I'll skip so that I can hang out with Kilby. Who knows. Maybe the antibiotics will kick in by the time I get home from work.

Knitting content will resume Friday. I promise.

Monday, March 12, 2007


I won! I won! Lori over at Yarn Beans had a little blog contest and I won a skein of Socks that Rock! I never win blog contests so I was so excited when she let me know. It's in the Little Bunny Foo Foo color and lightweight. I love it! Thank you so much, Lori!
Yesterday I finally got to the point in Thermal where something happened; I made it to the neck placket. Hooray! Tonight I will divide for the arms. Exciting, huh? :) I'm very happy with the sweater so far and can't wait to finish, but I still have a lot to knit...the upper back, the two front sections, the two arms, and then the collar. Phew!

I always feel like I should apologize for crappy dark photos. This time I'm blaming a rainy morning and the time change. Yeah, that's it. It's the time change's fault.

In super happy critter news, Kilby, our loving kitty, is officially off of insulin! Her diabetes is in remission! I think this happy day has come because we switched her to wet food earlier last week.

After a lot of research online I came to find out how unhealthy dry cat food is to our furry friends and it turns out many vets think it is the sole cause of feline diabetes. All along I never thought there was much of a difference between wet and dry cat foods, but turns out that dry food is very high in carbs unlike wet food. Cats don't need all those carbs. They need protein. If you have a cat, I hope you consider switching to wet food. It will not only help keep them healthy, but it will keep them better hydrated too therefore helping to prevent the dreaded urinary tract infection.

And be sure to take a look at Eunny's blog today. She's got some big news.

Wednesday, March 07, 2007

A Finished Sock

Not so long ago I was knitting up 3 or 4 pairs of socks a month. Now I'm excited I finished this one sock after weeks of dawdling. This slowdown is bound to lift soon as nothing motivates sock knitting like the knowledge that your sock yarn stash is now officially out of control! I have a bit more Duet Sock yarn coming in and I joined one more sock club. That's it. I'm done buying for a long long time. I know, I know, you've all heard that before, but really really really. I'm taking a break from sock yarn buying at least until we move. I'll give myself a couple exemptions (like if the Knitting Group does decide to go to The Fold), but my sock yarn boxes just can't take anymore!

The sock to the right is the first Conifer Sock from the Pick Up Sticks Sock Club. The yarn is Apple Laine Apple Pie in English Garden. I'm using size 2.5mm (US 1) Inox double points. As you can see, the second sock has begun. The sooner I get it done, the sooner I can start on the Rockin' Sock Club kit!

***Knitting Group has moved! We'll still be meeting on Wednesdays (tonight!), but instead of the Borders we have moved a little west to the new Starbucks in Wilmette (corner of Lake & Laramie, just to the west of I-94 on Lake Ave.). We meet from 6:30 until 8ish and any yarn enthusiast is welcome!***

Monday, March 05, 2007

Progress and the Rockin' Sock Club Kit!

A bit of progress was made on Thermal this weekend. I'm only a few inches away from dividing for the front button placket. Hooray! As it goes on, I'm really falling into a rhythm with this pattern. Something kind of zen about knitting for hours and not always making any visible progress. Well, it's zen if I'm in a good mood otherwise it's just damn frustrating. :) As I knit I sometimes find my self singing in my head the song that Dory sings in Finding Nemo. Except instead of "swimming" I'm thinking, "Just keep knitting. Just keep knitting. Just keep knitting, knitting, knitting. What do we do? We knit, knit."

Last night I picked up the neglected Conifer Sock from the Pick Up Sticks Sock Club. I finished up the leg and got past the pretty heel. The pattern designer added a lot of unique detail to it and I actually had to pay attention while knitting! :) Some people were having trouble getting the sock over their heel so I was thrilled to find out it went over mine. It's a bit tight pulling it on, but once it's on it fits perfectly. (Needles: 2.5mm Inox; Yarn: Apple Laine Apple Pie in English Garden).

Spoiler Alert ****2007 Rockin' Sock Club Kit ****
Don't Scroll if You Don't Want to See










And here it is. Finally! The absolutely awesome first kit from the 2007 Rockin' Sock Club. The color is Monsoon (mediumweight) and it is incredibly appropriate in light of the dismal weather we have been having lately. The pattern, Inside Out, is really different and I look forward to casting on as soon as I finish up the Conifer socks. Along with the yarn and pattern, the kit included the adorable little emergency skein key chain, a sticker, the newsletter, and a very nice custom binder (definitely a step up from last year's). I'm so happy I joined again and I am now already anxiously waiting for the next kit. :)

Friday, March 02, 2007

Ticket to Paradise

One the last day of the month, the February Petals Collection kit came and it's outstanding. Just the right antidote to the stormy grey weather we've been having here. The flower this month is the Bird of Paradise and the pattern is a neat slipped stitch rib.

In Thermal news, I can't bring myself to post another boring photo of it only one inch further along. Just believe me that I am knitting it...Hopefully more progress will have been made by Monday. Oooooh, and by Monday I should have the first 2007 Rockin' Sock Club kit!