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January 27, 2006

Quick Request

Yes, I'm still alive...and I do plan on creating a proper post over the weekend.

For now though, I need your help and advice!

Warm weather yarns: What warm weather yarn would you recommend that is:

  • 5 stitches per inch (I'll go to 6 stitches per inch, but I really don't want to go to a bulkier yarn than 5 unless it's really really special)
  • Has good memory. I've been afraid to use a 100% cotton because it could stretch out and grow while wearing it, but tell me if I'm wrong!
  • Has nice drape.
  • Has good adult colors. There are some really nice cotton blends that seem to be especially for baby.

So whaddya think? Let me know and I'll be back over the weekend to share what I've been working on (although I should warn you that it's been mostly work and little play knit).

January 27, 2006 | Permalink | Comments (29)

January 16, 2006

Watercolor Legwarmers


All along I thought I'd use a stitch pattern and a single color, but when I sat down and thought about them I kept coming back to colorwork.

I wanted something subtle, so at first I thought I'd just alternate between 2 colors to get a really muted, shaded effect. I started drawing out little stitch patterns and eventually I got to an actual pattern.

Now, I know you can't clearly see what pattern is there. Occasionally the 2 colors of yarn that are next to each other almost match. But I like the overall effect -- it's blended, but you can definitely tell something is going on there.

I've used a total of 4 colors -- the MC, plus 3 others in the stranded area. The stranded area can use little scraps -- making this the perfect project for using up scraps from leftover socks.

My stranded knitting technique is probably my weakest and this project is giving me some great practice. Gauge isn't terribly important as long as I can slip them over my ankle and let them slouch a bit on my leg. Blocking will be my best friend for this project!

I've found my stranding is pretty even in the middle of the row. My problem is deciding how loosely to strand when it's between the 2 needles. I still need some practice before I know just how much to leave. I was thinking about cutting a piece of cardboard and inserting it so the yarn would be forced to follow the shape of the cylinder. I'm open to other suggestions though. Maybe it's just something I need to work on for a while longer?

The stitch pattern is really versatile. I can easily see making these up as armwarmers as well, and with less stitches they could definitely be made in a heavier wool. I'm already thinking about other lone balls of yarn I have in the stash to pair up for a totally different look.

All this inspiration from "too much" sock yarn!

January 16, 2006 in accessories | Permalink | Comments (30)

January 15, 2006

FO: Rainy Day Socks

proof that yes, my calves really are *that* big

A scant 14 months from the cast on date and these are done!

Rainyday2   Rainyday3

Pattern Rainy Day Socks from The Sock Calendar by Catherine Wingate and Jackie Erickson-Schweitzer (from HeartStrings)
Yarn Trekking XXL in color 78
Modifications The pattern is top-down with an afterthought heel (they call it a peasant heel). I did mine toe-up with a wrapped short row heel and EZ's sewn cast off.

Pattern and Yarn Thoughts

I picked this pattern because I wanted to find something other than a basic stockinette sock for the Trekking. I didn't want something so patterned though that it would interfere with the pretty, subtle colors of the yarn itself.

The slip stitch pattern did the trick. After knitting a repeat it was easily memorized, and it gives the sock just enough texture to keep it interesting to knit as well as look it (now that they're done!).

The book has some great patterns in it. Amazon's view includes the back page which shows closeups of all 12 socks. At 14 bucks this book is a deal.

There's also a follow up book--The Sock Journal--that includes 12 more socks. I don't have this one yet but you can check out the back page for closeups of the patterns as well.

I did find the yarn to be somewhat splitty while knitting them, and although I could knit them without looking, I'd have to do a quick survey each row and note if any stitches had become split.

I've already washed and blocked them and I noticed no substantial change in texture or gauge; the water remained clear even on the first wash. This yarn isn't the softest sock yarn out there, but it's not scratchy or uncomfortable either, and I expect the nylon content to make a good long-wearing sock.

In case you're counting, I'm now down to 5 socks-in-progress. Not a bad way to usher in my first FO of 2006.

January 15, 2006 in socks! | Permalink | Comments (28)

January 14, 2006

Review: Soho Scarf


I made this mistake rib scarf in November 2004. It's a pretty basic scarf and normally wouldn't warrant a look back.

Except for this...


The single ply yarn has developed a strong white halo (better visible if you view the enlarged version of the closeup). The colors have clouded and the texture has changed too. It's...hardened. The scarf has lost its drape, it's stretched out and narrowed as well. This combined with the texture changes make it hard to wrap around me in a way that actually covers my neck sufficiently. And the fringe edges keep sticking together too. It feels like it's in a pre-felting stage.

I blame all these problems on the yarn. I can't imagine a sweater in this yarn would wear very well. The scarf wasn't my everyday scarf so it didn't get a ton of wear. I'd envision the same hardening/felting happening at the elbows or where the arms rub against the body sides.

I really don't recommend this yarn.

January 14, 2006 in Project Reviews | Permalink | Comments (9)

January 13, 2006

Best of Blogs Awards

By some kind of feat only short of a miracle, I've made it into the finalists for The Best of Blogs 2005 Best Knitting – Craft Blog.

There are some great blogs in there, and I'm thrilled to be put in the same category with them. So, go vote for your favorite!

January 13, 2006 | Permalink | Comments (5)

January 12, 2006

And The Winner Is...

beccamonstr and her suggestion of legwarmers.

There were several really good ideas, but in the end I went with this one because:

  • I haven't ever made a pair of legwarmers
  • I have a Jeep Wrangler (very little between you and the outside on the floor of the Jeep) and while my legs get cold my feet are just fine. I think legwarmers would do the trick--I hate hot feet so I usually wear knee highs or just deal with cold calves.
  • I can already think of a few ideas for making up a pattern for them. In other words, it's a great excuse to do a little designing.
  • They'll use at least 2 balls of the Koigu, which was a big requirement for me. I don't want to make 2 projects out of the same exact shade of Koigu. I just know I'll end up not finishing the second project, and that'd be such a waste of the yarn.
  • I can see using some of the yarn I pictured to actually make the legwarmers.

The other ideas I was strongly considering:

  • Pixie's bandana suggestion. VERY cute idea!
  • Mary Beth's suggestion to do a turtleneck similar to Annie's. I like this idea A LOT but not for the colors I have right now. I will keep this one in mind though as I visit the LYSs. I see a T ranging from blacks at the bottom into greens and maybe a touch of pink. This will definitely mean I'll have to collect some yarn though.
  • Dharma'a suggestion to do the Foxy Shawl. How pretty! I love the gradation going longways (similar to the pooling scarf without the anxiety of forcing handdyed to pool!). While you're looking at the Foxy Shawl be sure to visit the rest of Foxy's site. There are tons of Koigu patterns there!

So what does beccamonstr win? Well, I've emailed her* asking for a little direction in terms of the colors she likes. Koigu is too nice not to be used, so I want to make sure it's something that'll suit her. Once we chat and I do a little stashdiving/shopping I'll be sure to show you all too.

Thanks everyone for participating. I got some great ideas and inspiration, as well as the chance to meet some new commenters.

Koigu as Socks

I do still plan on making some of the double hanks into socks. One thing I've heard or read though is that Koigu socks tend to stretch out. Those of you who have made Koigu socks--do you find this to be true? Either way, I'd like to hear about it (including the gauge you used). I suspect some of it may be due to a looser gauge, but I'd like to know now so I can do this yarn right!

*I'm slightly concerned that my email might get filtered out as spam since it has the words "contest" and "winner" in it. If you didn't get my email please email me at savannahchik AT yahoo. Thanks!

January 12, 2006 in Contests | Permalink | Comments (14)

January 10, 2006

Afterthoughts on the Garter Stitch Heel

Someone (which blogger had this idea in the first place?) started going back and giving thoughts on projects after she'd worn them and used them for a while. It's an awesome idea and I have several in mind.

Since I'm wearing my Jaywalkers today (summary post is here) it seemed fitting that I talk about them.

In general I still love them. The yarn (Tess Super Sock) machine washes and dries perfectly. I do turn them inside out (no different than how I wash most T shirts and washable sweaters) so the RS doesn't get too beaten up during laundering.

The big change I made to the pattern was using a garter stitch heel. I still think the heel is great. It's cushy and form-fitting.


As long as I'm wearing mules. When I have shoes with a back the heel stretches and poofs out of the top.

After walking around for a couple minutes things seem to settle in place and relax and the heel looks normal, so it's definitely something I can live with. I think this problem is caused by the fact that I made this heel deeper than I usually do. This combined with the stretchiness of garter stitch makes for a growing heel.

Next time I'm going to try making the foot a couple rows shorter -- probably about a half inch. I am still very happy with the shape of the deeper heel so I don't want to make it shorter.

To sum it up -- I like the heel, it just needs a little tweaking so it's perfect.

January 10, 2006 in socks! | Permalink | Comments (10)

January 08, 2006

Sock Sunday


I always start out strong with my yearly goals. Maybe I should make goals each month instead?

So...I have some good progress to show! Last Sunday I had less than a half a foot of the India sock done...and today it's finished!

So now I'm onto sock #2 of the Trekking. I cast on for sock 1 over a year ago, so rather than just a quick cast on I had to figure out how many stitches to start with, what kind of increases I used, and how frequently I increased. They're almost identical, but they look the same on my feet so I'm fine with it.

For now I'm sticking with socks and only socks for January, but it's early so don't be surprised when I stray.

As for the Koigu contest, there are a few strong contenders and I need to make a final decision. I'll announce a winner over the next few days.

January 8, 2006 in socks! | Permalink | Comments (6)

January 05, 2006

Koigu Contest

Interesting comments to yesterday's post! Some of my favs:

  • Christy and Katy had similar points in suggesting if we go shopping and can't find anything else that we'll buy sock yarn so we don't come home empty handed. This one hit home. I am positive that I do this (although I never noticed it until she said something).
  • Johanna suggests I forget about knitting all the yarn and just roll in it. I like her style!
  • Kris made me laugh when she said she plans to catalog her sock yarn before her next order arrives

And this one is the one that made me really think...

  • Amy suggests I use the Koigu for something else.

I have considered that, but dismissed it because all the colors I listed are doubles. I bought 2 hanks just for socks. It doesn't mean I _have_ to make them into socks, but it seems like the best fit.

It got me thinking "What else could I do with all these double hanks of Koigu?". The 2 hanks total 350 yards, so I have 350 yards of each of the colors you see here.


So -- the contest...

What is your best suggestion for how to use this yarn? Use one ball, or many. Mix and match as you like. I will say that my inclination is to not split up the 2 hanks of the same color, but I'm open. My favorite suggestion wins...what else? A couple hanks of Koigu -- maybe from the stash, maybe new. I haven't decided yet.

So give me your best idea. I'll leave the contest running until Saturday.

January 5, 2006 in Contests, socks! | Permalink | Comments (46)

January 03, 2006

20ish? Yeah...in base 16

I catalogued all my sock yarn. 20 wasn't even close. I have yarn for a solid 31 pairs. This does not include yarn that's not necessarily for socks (e.g. Schaffer Anne). I'm tempted to declare January a War on Socks, but that'll surely jinx me.

  1. Artyarns Supermerino Pink and Peach (110)
  2. Artyarns Supermerino 4 Turquoise and Green (123)
  3. Dale Baby Ull Pink with green and dark pink (?)
  4. Elann Sock It To Me Colori Pink with turquoise and purple (29)
  5. Fortissima Colori Socka Color Denim print (9099)
  6. Fortissima Socka Cream (1048)
  7. Hand Jive Cream dotted with pink (Odd Duck #7)
  8. KnitPicks Essential Burgundy (23698)
  9. KnitPicks Essential Dusk (23693)
  10. KnitPicks Essential Pumpkin (23699)
  11. Koigu Gold and Green (P301)
  12. Koigu Navy with bits of orange and mossy green (?)
  13. Koigu Pink with lavender and green (P219)
  14. Koigu Pink, Red, Orange and Purple (P807)
  15. Koigu Purple and Fuschia (?)
  16. Louet Gems Marine Blue (?)
  17. Louet Gems Opal Pink (?)
  18. Mountain Colors Bearfoot Dark Navy with subtle purples (Thunderhead)
  19. Opal Dark Blue and White (Farbe 5 Partie 16)
  20. Plymouth Sockotta Black with rainbow (20)
  21. Plymouth Sockotta White with gray (18)
  22. Regia 4ply Color Navy with light blue and brown (5171)
  23. Regia 4ply Color Reds (5571)
  24. Regia 4Ply Colors Light blue and tan (?)
  25. Regia Crazy Color Bright pink and black stripes (5402)
  26. Regia Jubilee Pink (India)
  27. Skacel Trampoline Red with green and yellow (233)
  28. Sock It To Me Colori Turquoise and Blue with pink and green (33)
  29. Spirit Trail Superwash Merino Teal and brown with some pink – 18-20 spi (48-04-04-01)
  30. Steinbach Wolle Strapaz Multi Purples with green and gold (114)
  31. Trekking XXL Purples with bits of pink (78)

* indicates SIP

January 3, 2006 in socks! | Permalink | Comments (22)