Friday, March 31, 2006

Toe Up Pomatomus and stuff...

Toe-Up Pomatomus so far...

I decided on the short row toe method. I really like the look of this toe after seeing how it looked on the Elfine sock (notice just sock - not socks). I started with 2mm needles and provisional cast on for 32 stitches. Knit the toe according to instructions at Knitty. Knit 1 round even after the last wrap pick up.

Switch to 2.5mm needles and knit 1 round even. Next round, knit according to the Foot chart, row 2 but don't k2togbl - knit as separate stitches. At the end of this round, increase 1 more. There should be 36 stitches for the top of the foot and 32 for the bottom. Continue in pattern until the foot is long enough. The scales are facing the opposite direction from the original. The pattern is working nicely.

Elfine Sock

The first sock is done. I was overly eager to start the toe-up Pomatomus that I casted on for that instead of the second Elfine sock. I hope I haven't doomed the Elfine socks to a lonely life of SSD.

I'm still not sure about the picot edging yet. This wasn't part of the pattern but it seemed like a good idea at 2am. It can easily be redone if I change my mind.

Monday, March 27, 2006

Further Adventures in Sock World

Now I regret not knitting both socks together. I wanted to see how the pattern would look with this yarn. If I knit both socks together, it would have taken me twice as long to get to this point. Just in case I didn't like it and have to frog it.

I do like the yarn and the pattern. Once I got the lace repeat charted, it was a breeze. I'm not good with teeny tiny print. Much MUCH prefer charts to written instructions.

The toe up Pomatomus will be next. I dyed some more yarn on the weekend and was pretty happy with the results...or at least, most of it. One skein is definitely destined to become the next Pomatomus. (One skein will be re-dyed, thanks to Felicia's suggestion.)

Here's my thought:

I was flipping through the latest issue of Interweave Knit and wondered why did the designer of Simply Lovely Lace Socks made them in two different colours. At first, I was annoyed by this blatant attempt to get us to buy more yarn. But after giving it some thought, I thought maybe she had something there.

So many of us suffer from SSD. We all have 1 or 2 (or more) single lonely sock waiting for a mate. Take Karen Baumer's idea of mismatched colours and go further with it - why stop at wearing two different colour socks and why not wear two totally different design socks? Not only would you be in the latest knitting fashion but really cutting edge of knitting fashion!

Socks that match are highly overrated.

P.S...Dear Anonymouses: Yes, I know the socks are two different patterns. It was just me being silly, with all the talk about Second Sock Disorder. But I am seriously thinking I should start wearing my single lonely socks and perhaps start a new fashion trend.

Saturday, March 25, 2006

Adventures in Sock World

In anticipation of our upcoming Sock Yarn Painting Extravaganza, I thought I would play around a bit. Besides, I have a LOT of sock yarns just for that purpose.

The original plan was to dye the yarn yellow and handpaint green and red highlights. The yellow came out beautifully. Just the right shade of daffodils, I thought. I let the yarn cool down and laid it on plastic to paint. Here's where things went wrong.

I really don't think I should be trusted with dyes. I think I got a bit carried away and by the time I came to my senses, there was not a lot of yellow left on the yarn. It wasn't terrible. But not quite what I had in mind.

Note to self: Colours will bleed together during steaming. I watched the colours migrate for 20 minutes. The results were a lot more disgusting than I had imagine.

As I started to wind the yarn into a centre pull ball, I found I didn't mind the colours after all. There were interesting little flecks of bright yellows and greens here and there. Still, even the ugliest yarns can knit up into something beautiful, right?


Knitty has an excellent article on different types of toes for toe-up socks. Short Row, Figure 8, Easy Toe. I never liked the Figure 8 cast on and I usually do the Easy Toe so I thought I would try the short row. It looks just like a little heel! The top of the toe is smooth - no corners! I think, depending on what method used for the short row, you won't even see the ridges on the sides.

One suggestion for the short row: use a different colour (non-fraying) yarn to mark where you wrap and turn. Otherwise, it may be hard to see where your last wrap & turn was and you have to redo your toe 3 or 4 times!

Now, the question is: Should I make the Efline's Socks or a Toe Up Pomatomus?

Wednesday, March 22, 2006

Madli Shawl

I have finally finished plying the yarn for the Madli Shawl! The finished yarn is a little bit thicker than the sample skein but I think it will work better. This is more like the recommended yarn. The shawl knits up quickly except for the nupps....not to be confused with neps. Nupps are several knit and yarn over stitches all in one stitch. This pattern requires nupps of 7! It was driving me crazy, trying to purl through all 7 loops so I changed it to 5. A bit better but still tedious. Changed to 3 nupps and hated it.

Life without nupps...

Round Two

I still didn't like how the nupps were looking and did a full repeat without nupps. It was much better so I took a deep breath and ripped it out. The yarn is a two-plyed attempt at evenly spun lace weight. There's a bit of over twisting and some thick & thin sections. Overall, it seems fairly balanced. I haven't set the twist yet. That will be done when I block the shawl.

I don't know if it's the fibre (Polworth) but the yarn is snagging on my matter what I do. I did the sugar scrub, hand lotion, lemon juice, a layer of lanolin. Nothing is working. Silk wasn't this bad. I don't recall the sample skein and swatch being this bad.

Sunday, March 19, 2006

Pomatomus Socks

Pomatomus Socks in Fleece Artist superwash merino sock yarn, colourway - Marine. Knitted with 2.75mm Bryspun double pointed needles. Heels and toes knitted with 2mm CP bamboo double pointed needles.

I was very concern that I wouldn't have enough yarn for the pair. FA yarn measured 330m (wound on my niddy noddy) and the pattern called for 350m. I knew it was going to be very close. I'm the type of person that would buy more than the pattern called for. If the pattern suggested 10-12 balls, I think I need 15 but I would by 20 just in case. Doing it toes up would have been a good idea but I wasn't sure how the pattern would translate. I kept to the pattern mostly. It was pretty tense as I got to the heel of the second sock!

I would definetely make this pattern again. I think I would use either the hourglass heel or afterthought heel. Having made these once, I can see that the socks can be done toes up. The socks fit snug on my feet and baggy at the ankles...just the way I like socks.

The ridges were interesting. If you turn the fabric one way, you can see the ridges. The fabric looked flat if you turn it around. It's a fun stitch pattern that I can see many other uses...perhaps a shawl or a scarf?

Monday, March 13, 2006

A use for disposable chopsticks

Wow! Look what you can do with recycled disposable chopsticks! It does make sense now that I think about it. All those millions of people eating take out food with disposable chopsticks must generate a lot of chopstick waste.

Sunday, March 12, 2006

Fleece Artist sock yarn

"It's not a sock yarn kind of shop!" was told to me by the clerk working at Urban Yarns today. Heh! I pointed out the Fleece Artist merino sock yarn. "Oh, that's a kit...." Huh!? I thought they had a pretty okay selection of sock yarns...Regia, etc. The basic stuff that you can find in any other LYS. Once I saw the FA yarns, that was it. Game over for all the other sock yarns.

To describe a skein of yarn and badly written instructions as a sock kit is pushing it. Don't get me wrong...I love the yarn! All my favourite colours! But there was no gauge given in the instructions, other than what size needles. The sizes of the socks did not tell you the measurements. No yardage. No weight. I didn't care. It felt like about 100gms...which was what I was looking for. It did give a needle size so that helped.

The clerk did try hard to convince me that I really should follow the pattern that came with the kit. I think that was sweet of her but I had my heart set on Pomatomus from Knitty.

Oh, and the rest of the day was spent wandering around Granville Island, lunch at the Watermark on Kits beach. The food was pretty good but the place was a bit drafty! The weather was gorgeous and we had a window table overlooking the beach.

I picked up some more silk fibre at the Weaving Studio. A couple of bags of Tussah silk, a bag of silk/camel, and a skein of silk chennille and some nubbly silk. I was hoping to find some of the new silk blends (silk/linen & silk/seacell) but they only had the dyed skeins. No worries, I picked up a couple of the mini skeins to experiment with.

When I got home, I discovered I already had 5 bags of Tussah silk, 2 bags of silk/camel, and 3 bags of cultivated silk in my stash. I probably knew that. But it didn't stop me from picking up a few more bags. My domestic enabler (aka hubby) thinks I'm worried that these people will go out of business if I didn't buy constantly.

Of course, I had to cast on and knit a bit as soon as I got home...just to see what the colours would look like.

(I'm relieved to know it's not me but the camera. I used the tripod for these and they're still fuzzy. This camera doesn't do close-ups.)

Saturday, March 11, 2006

Paper Bag

Last summer, our Guild held a Bag challenge and I started to work on my Paper Bag. At least, that was the intention. I made a trip to Granville Island to visit Paper-Ya. Paper-Ya has almost every kind of handmade paper imaginable...except the washi that I needed. What makes this paper special is that the sheets are pulled with all the fibres aligned in two direction, rather than the regular four. Still, the Hadaura is strong enough to use for paper spinning.

Finally, with a lot of off-and-on spinning, I had enough to knit my bag. I tried several different stitch patterns but the stiffness of the paper yarn made it hard to show any definition. I decided on a simple stockingnette stitch, accented with beads. The beads are added with a crochet hook as I went along. I tried stringing all the beads on first but the uneven joins made it hard to push the beads along.

The bag was finished and I had planned on using an olive green/gold silk chiffon for the lining and the fringe but the whole bolt has disappeared. (Yes, a WHOLE BOLT OF FABRIC!) In order to finish the bag for the Mar 9th deadline, I used a pale gold organza, cut into strips, and the paper yarn for the fringe. The ends were beaded to match the body of the bag. The cords were made with a commercial silk, twisted. Overall, I'm happy with the results but it's not the way I envisioned the bag to look. If I find this bolt of silk, I may change the fringe...just to see what it would look like.

If I had thought of it, I would have taken a picture of the finished bag before dropping it off at the Guild metting but instead, here's a pic of it as a work-in-progress.

Friday, March 10, 2006

More hats

I'm still knitting hats. I thought I might finish up the wool I bought just for the Olympic hats. I'm doing hats because I'm at a loss what to knit next. I guess I could finish one of the zillions of UFO's lying around upstairs. I thought perhaps another shawl. But that means I have to finish plying the Polworth. (Plying together two bobbins of lace weight takes a very LONG time!)

What I really want to do is a sweater with lots of twists and cables. But I can't seem to decide on a pattern. But I want to knit this with my own handspun...which means more carding, spinning, plying. All which I love doing but I need instant gratification right now.

I think another pair of socks should be next. I'm thinking of Pomatomus. I think I need a trip to Urban Yarns this weekend.

Thursday, March 02, 2006


This is my first time trying to spin a yarn to match what is recommended in the pattern. The pattern is the Madli Shawl from Interweave Summer 2004. The yarn is a 2-plyed lace weight - 1000m/200g. I worked it out that 10g of fibre, spun and plyed, should be 50m of yarn. The swatch was right on gauge, after blocking.

Now, the challenge will be to spin enough yarn to knit the shawl. Bobbin Two is filling up nicely. Once this one is full, I'll start plying.