Saturday, October 14, 2006

The Temptation Was Too Strong

I believe I said I wouldn't cast on for these socks yet. I believe I got weak immediately after saying it and this is the result so far. Yes, I still have another sock that is waiting for a mate. I still have a Swallow Tail Shawl that hasn't been touched in days. But, I couldn't resist the pull of the new yarn. These may be my favorite socks so far; I have a deep love of brown and light blue together.

But this isn't all I've been doing since the last post. See the quilt the sock is lying on? That is my first quilt project and is finished except for the binding. I pieced the top a long, long time ago and it has been in a state of neglect waiting to be quilted. I tried to quilt it on my sewing machine but I quickly grew tired of wrestling the darn thing. It once again became the neglected project. That all ended when my MIL gifted me her Little Gracie quilting frame (mine is the original frame and not the new and improved one on the web site.) and her quilters dream sewing machine. This thing makes machine quilting quite easy. Here's a better picture of the quilt. It's far from perfect but I love it anyway. The first attempt at machine quilting before the frame resulted in some bunched backing. I didn't discover this until the entire star had been quilted. I chose not to correct it. There was just no way I was going to rip out all that stitching. The bunching on the back caused a couple areas of background on the front to pucker. The fabrics are leftovers from home sewing projects. Some were curtains, porch cushions, and throw pillows. When the binding is finished I'll display it in my craft room. It will be a constant reminder of what can go wrong if you aren't paying attention. My MIL has given me a quilt top she made recently to be my next project for the frame. It's a queen size quilt and will take more time to complete. Sounds like a good project for a cold, rainy weekend.

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Saturday, October 07, 2006

Socktober Yarn

I finally got around to dying the yarn for the fantasy football league that I'm playing in this season. And just in time for Socktoberfest too. The league voted on light blue and brown for our official colors. I have named it Vera's Fantasy in honor of Vera. She came up with the idea of a crafter's fantasy football league and got the whole thing going. I'm really anxious to cast on but I have another sock that is just waiting for toe grafting and I really need to get that done and cast on for it's mate.

Vera's Fantasy is 560 yards of squishy soft light fingering weight superwash merino. It is dyed to create stripes when knit as socks. This hank was intended to be a weekly prize for the league but the brown came out with some unintended pale sections. I really want solid colors in this yarn so the next hank will be the prize. (Keeping my fingers crossed that I don't duplicate whatever mistake I made with this one.) Plus, I accidentally cut the yarn in one spot when I was removing the ties so it now has a knot in it. Bleh.

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Tuesday, October 03, 2006

Socktoberfest Question and Answer

Lolly has asked Socktoberfest participants to answer a few questions about their sock knitting history. Here's mine.

1. When did you start making socks? I think it was in 2003 (maybe 04) after we bought our first alpaca and I bought and spun my first alpaca roving.

2. Did you teach yourself or were you taught by a friend or relative? or in a class? I am a self taught sock knitter. I followed the directions in the Big Book of Knitting by Katharina Buss.

3. What was your first pair? a pair of footies from that first skein of spindle spun alpaca roving. (pictured above.)

4. How have they "held up" over time? Not very well. I knit at too loose a gauge and the heels are wearing thin. But I still love them and wear them. Lesson learned.

5. What would you have done differently? Probably used a more tightly spun yarn at a tighter gauge.

6. What yarns have you particularly enjoyed? I love Lorna's Laces Shepard sock. It knits up very consistently and makes a nice soft sock. I have recently discovered Kona 2-ply superwash in a light fingering weight. It is heavenly and just may be my new favorite. (Thanks La.) I also liked knitting with Mountain Colors Bearfoot but the mohair content is a tad itchy. But, not so itchy that I won't use it again.

7. Do you like to crochet your socks? or knit them on DPNs, 2 circulars, or using the Magic Loop method? I prefer to knit my socks on DPN's. To be perfectly honest I haven't tried the magic loop or 2 circ methods. I just enjoy the process of the DPN's. Since there only a few stitches on each needle I get the feeling that I'm finishing things quickly. It's easy to keep track of the start of a round without the use of a marker. When I have to lay the sock aside the work folds nice and flat.

8. Which kind of heel do you prefer? (flap? or short-row?) If the socks are for me I do a heel flap. It just seems to fit my feet better. If I could wear a short row heel that would be my preference.

9. How many pairs have you made? 8 completed, 2 on the needles, and 2 in planning.

Thank you Lolly for this fun walk down sock memory lane.

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Sunday, October 01, 2006


To kick off the 2006 round of Socktoberfest I present a finished pair of Verbena socks. This is the first time I have used a picot cuff and it is now my favorite. It makes such a nice neat edge and is much quicker than 2x2 ribbing. These were started a few weeks ago but I held off finishing them until now so that I could count them for Socktoberfest. Just a tiny bit of cheating on my part. After trying them on I noticed that one sock seemed a tad tighter than the other. Hmm, must have knit tighter on one. Nope. Gauge measures the same on each sock; 10 stitches per inch. Counted stitches on each sock and realized that one is 64 stitches and the other is 68. Checked my notes and I clearly wrote down that the cast on should be 68. Evidently I have a problem counting. The stripes matching up so well is purely accidental. I didn't really pay attention to where in the color sequence the cast on began. I just pulled out a length of yarn and commenced to casting on.

WIP Report: I have cast on for the Swallowtail Shawl (click here for KAL) from the Fall 2006 IK using Blue Sky Alpaca sport weight on size 7US aluminum needles (possibly Susan Bates). I chose these needles for their very pointy points. This pattern features p5tog and nupps. Hopefully these needles will be pointy enough to prevent any foul language when these little gems are encountered. I'm currently on repeat 7 of 14. I'll post a picture when I get a little further along.