As you know, it is my belief that socks make the perfect traveling project:
With that in mind I have cast on for the second of my Sockapaloooza pair and packed my bag. The lace will have to wait, as I'm about to depart for the City of Brotherly Love: Philadelphia.
Eagle-eyed readers might notice something in that photo besides knitting. Yeah, it's my iPod Nano. Thanks to everyone who offered comments and advice about their experience with iPods.
Have a great weekend--I'll be on line, but I won't be posting.
It's not a coincidence that Cozy is arranged in a frown. What you see here is the second attempt at the first repeat of the second version.
The first time through I cast on 85 stitches. That was 14 repeats across. All was fine until I checked the yarn consumption. Two and a half inches consumed 10 grams of a 50-gram skein. At that rate, I figured that I would have less than a two-foot scarf. Not very useful.
Version two: cast on 43 stitches. I began to knit the first repeat, thinking that I would get one repeat done before I thought about things like lifelines. Now, admittedly, chart reading and lace knitting do not go hand-in-hand with subway riding. I acknowledge knowing this fact before I boarded the train with knitting in hand.
Number of rides it took for something to go wrong: one.
By row seven of the first eight-row repeat, I knew that something was amiss. I didn't have enough stitches. It is remarkable to me how stitches simply disappear in lace knitting. I never see them leave, but leave they do. Where do they go? I was in denial about this for two subway rides. I checked and rechecked. When all else failed I counted stitches: 42.
I frogged back two rows. The missing stitch felt comfortable enough to return. I'm now back at 43, and back at row seven.
A very long time ago I won this yarn from Ms. JKC:
It's Shelridge Farm Softouch Heather in the Opal colorway. Knowing that it was destinted to be a spring scarf for me, I stashed the yarn.
Spring is now, so it's time to get knitting. Early last week, I experimented with the Frost Flowers pattern from Barbara Walker. As you might remember, the experiment failed. It was time to return to the original plan: Cozy.
I'm excited to begin this project. I'm tired of stockinette.
Ooh, these are so cute. Cute! Cute! Cute!
If you're keeping track, the Easter Bunny Booties are the third of the baby knitting trio. First, the Jelly Bean Blanket, then the Easter Egg Hat, and finally the Easter Bunny Booties. That's not bad for five skeins of Plymouth Encore Colorspun.
Bootie (sorry, could not resist):
All I need to do now is to sew the seam, but I'll wait until I have the second one complete. This should take a matter of hours, if the first was any indication of how quickly booties are knit.
Now I know that this pattern could easily be converted into round knitting. Next time, that's what I'll do. For now, however, I'll keep both booties consistent and knit the second flat.
I better jump to it on these Easter Bunny Booties.
I'm using the pattern from a 2004 Filatura Di Crosa baby series designed for Tahki Stacy Charles. Here's a visual listing of the patterns available. At $12, I think it's a bargan for the patterns it contains.
This will be my very first pair of baby booties. I'm surprised to see that they're knit flat, and I'm curious to see how the shaping works.
Found at Forest Hills:
I'm sick, sick, sick of winter weather, too. I, however, will hang on to my hat because in addition to needing it, I made it myself.
Not quite! How about an Easter Egg Hat instead:
The i-cord knot on the top is my new hat topper of choice. It's just so darn cute!
And, still I have yarn left over. What's left? Jelly Bean Blanket, Easter Egg Hat....Easter Bunny Booties. Yes!
Who's that I see in the distance (all blurry because the train was moving and I couldn't steady the camera)?
Why it's a fellow subway knitter!
It's been a while since I have been able to document the presence of fellow knitters on the Orange Line. This woman was working on a short-row heel when I snapped my pictures. Could it be a Sockapaloooza sock?
Yesterday, I mentioned that I had some yarn leftover from the Jelly Bean Blanket.
How about an Easter Egg Hat?
I like the striping better in these short rounds. The subtle shades in the yarn are allowed to pool and balance the more saturated hues. (Am I using the proper terms here? Color-theory people, please let me know!)
The picture is not so great, but the real life result is fabulous. I'm very happy, both with the results and to have the project off of my needles. And, not a moment too soon!
What can I say about this blanket? Actually, the pattern is mindless enough so that I could think about other things while knitting, yet not so monotonous that it drove me crazy. The alternating knit-purl sections kept my hands from getting tired, and the color changes kept my eyes interested. In a brief lap test, I noted that the blanket was both warm and snuggly--all in all, a good blanket pattern!
The details for the Jelly Bean Blanket:
Pattern: Basketweave Blanket, from Melanie Falick and Kirsten Nicholas'sKnitting for Baby (But really, look at what I did. Do you really need a pattern for that?)
Yarn: Plymouth Encore Colorspun, 75% acrylic, 25% wool (3.5 oz, 100g / 200y, 218m), colorway 7333, five skeins (really, about 4.1 skeins, with enough left over for a hat. Hey....)
Size: 36 inches (91cm) square.
What I changed (because you know that I changed something): I adjusted for gauge.
Would I knit this again: Sure, why not? As I wrote above, the pattern and the stripes kept things interesting, and the stitch pattern looks great on both sides. No lining required!
Thinking ahead, I grabbed one of my Barbara Walker stitch treasuries (volume 2) some needles, and some leftover yarn and began to swatch an idea that I had.
I love the Frost Flowers pattern (it's on the cover of volume 2) but I don't like that it appears to run in one direction. Could I rearrange the upper part of the pattern so that the leaves grow down instead of up, thus eliminating the top and bottom look?
The first step was to chart out the original pattern. The only shortcoming to the BW books is the lack of charts. Then I recharted the upper portion, inverting the direction of the leaf motif. Finally, I swatched the results.
Um, no. I guess the lesson is that leaves won't grow down, or at least I can't figure out how to make them do it. The reason has something to do with the way that the decreases create relief in the pattern. It's why Annie Modesitt's Backyard Leaves scarf is knit in two parts and seamed at the top. There's no way to make the leaves change direction mid-pattern.
So much for my idea!
I'll give the Jelly Bean Blanket a "10" for cuteness, but a "1" for portability.
It's definitely not the thing for knitting on the go. That's the blanket taking up my entire bag. There might be a wallet and at T pass (sorry, I mean a Charlie Card) in there, but who knows.
The smart knitter would tell me to leave the blanket at home, and knit something else during my commute. That's a great idea, except that I know that the other project would instantly become more interesting than the blanket, thus ensuring the blanket's continued languishing. Nope, the only way to finish it is to work on this exclusively.
Thanks, to Knitsmith Shireen, for mentioning this in my comments yesterday:
As soon as I read Shireen's comment, I high tailed it over to the Public Garden. Our mystery knitter made sure mother duck and her ducklings were properly attired for St. Patrick's Day. [If you don't know to what this sculpture refers, then google "Make Way for Ducklings".]
Over the past year or so, someone has up the task of knitting for the ducks. Who knows how this knitter slips into the Public Garden unnoticed. Surely someone must witness this act--but is keeping quiet. I didn't notice a trail of green lint which I could follow. This knitter covers her tracks well.
I certainly didn't look very closely for clues. While I do have a hunch, I have no interest in knowing if I'm correct. Solving the mystery would ruin part of the charm.
Suddenly the Jelly Bean Blanket went from being little more than half-way finished to being almost done:
As I was knitting back and forth and flipping this thing on my lap, it began to feel heavy. I stretched it out and measured. I'm one repeat from the garter-stitch border. Nice!
Taking every opportunity to knit a few rows on the Jelly Bean Blanket (my name):
Well, I guess that's not such a suprise.
I knit most of this project and managed to keep it off blog. There's not much to say about an in-progress baby blanket.
As you knitters know, the endurance event of knitting is the baby blanket. It's one flat plane of knitted fabric. It always seems a good idea way back at the beginning (and I think every baby needs a nice blanket), but at a certain point (for me, it's about half way) I start to doubt my sanity.
I whipped this sucker off the needles last night and measured my progress. At 36 inches wide, the 22 inches of height means that I still have 14 inches to go. By my calculations that's six more of the square repeats, plus the garter-stitch border.
The colorway is very seasonal, yes? My goal is to have this off of the knitting plate by the end of the week. I think that I can do it!
There's not much to say:
Thank you for your good yarny thoughts. I'll have enough by 15 grams, or a half ounce. Not much leeway, but enough!
Why waste any time? I finished the knitting and decided to kitchener the toe right away:
What you see here is my second attempt; this one was successful. I never move the yarn to the rear needle correctly and this results in a row of twisted lower stitches. I never notice the problem until I'm half way through.
Once I get the toe kitchenered, I'll weigh the sock and the remaining yarn. At this point, I'm not sure what I'll do if I don't have enough yarn, but I'm not too worried. The ball seems denser than I first thought.
The sock progresses toward its toe:
Actually, I'm beginning to worry about the yarn. That's a pretty long cuff. Will I have enough? What will I do if I don't?
Carole commented a few days ago that socks knit quickly once the heel shaping is finished. At the time I read the comment and thought "no, not really."
In retrospect, she's correct (sorry for doubting you, Carole). I knitted here, there, and everywhere yesterday and was surprised to look up and notice that the foot was more than half-way done.
A couple of you had questions about my shortrow heel. As Claudia wrote: shortrow heels are magic. I don't really understand how they work (but it must have something to do with the two sets of wraps creating a steep angle). I'm using the numbers from Priscilla Gibson-Roberts's Dream Socks pattern. At a gauge of seven stitches to an inch, the pattern advised me to leave 14 stitches unwrapped between yarn overs. That meant that I wrapped one more than half the stitches on each of the two heel needles. I don't know if this helps. If your heel seems too pointy, then try wrapping fewer stitches. If it seems too shallow, then try wrapping more.
Thank you everyone for your comments and advice about my upcoming purchase. I began thinking about an iPod last year, when I realized that my CD player was too large. I also realized that I was on my fourth (yes that's 1, 2, 3, 4) CD player in one year (one violently smashed in a treadmill mishap; one was faulty from the get-go; another I lost; and the fourth I still have) and before I spend money on an iPod, I have to prove to myself that I can be responsible with one piece of personal audio equipment for one year. My time is up in April, and that's when I can start looking.
As I cruised to a finish on heel number one, I got to thinking. While I like knitting, it can be a little quiet (except for Knitsmiths time, when we're anything but demure.) Do you know what would fix that? Music.
Do you know what that means? An iPod.
Since I'm a woman of action, I went over to the official iPod website to have a look around. I wish that I could say that I wasn't drawn to these things, but I tend to have a weak spot for little gadgets. Then the mental calisthenics of justification kick in: think of how nicely an iPod would fit into the knitting bag! Heck, even Johanna's sock purse could accomodate a sock project and an iPod.
Speaking of calisthenics, there's the gym to consider. I must have my tunes for the treadmill! Juno recently asked us all about our favorite gym tunes. "Imagine being able to flip between three (or 10) CDs without needing to carry those three (or 10) CDs with me," I thought. "Brilliant!"
What doest this have to do with knitting? Not much, except that knitters have iPods, and maybe a knitter or two (or several) can tell me the good things about iPods: the Nano, the original, the Shuffle, or your MP3 player of choice.
Oh yeah, and I finished the heel.
Maybe I'll start to carry around a sock project wherever I go. People would see me and wonder where on my person the sock is stashed.
Just because they're small doesn't mean there isn't lots of fun things to do while creating them. Take the heel. I love a shortrow heel! Those backwards yarn overs? The SSKs? Tthe K3Tog, TBLs? They're all great.
I would be further along on this heel if I didn't have to frog it last night (damned dropped stitch....)
I hope that my sock pal will like wearing this pair just as much as I am enjoying knitting them.
I'm about to begin the best part: the heel shaping:
I have the same realization every time I reach the heel shaping: socks are really fun. But, why am I telling all of you what you already know? Yay for socks!
Because it was too cold for yours truly to do any skiing (without spending a hundreds of dollars to reoutfit myself with much warmer layers) I had a lot of time to knit. And by "a lot" I mean A. Lot. Somehow I had managed to forget my book and I soon discovered that the nearest bookstore was miles and miles (and miles) away. Sigh....
So, what's a knitter to do? Knit, and knit, and knit, and knit. Do you remember how the sock looked on Tuesday? Here's how it looked on Friday:
Lucky for me that there was a café in the "village" (which almost completely closed by 6pm each night--aaack!) where I could park myself for a good KIP.
If you can use that term to descibe exiting the Massachusetts Turnpike, then I guess that we touched down in Boston late yesterday afternoon. My vacation wrap-up cannot hold a candle to Alison's (Really, a gold medal?!? Now that's cool!) so I won't even try.
I do, however, have two things to tell you:
One: it was really cold in Vermont. Extremely cold. Wicked cold, as some of my fellow New Englanders might say. Too cold for this knitter to hit the slopes.
Two: I have a pattern. Go on, knit* yourselves silly.
*DISCLAIMER: Only size 38 of this pattern that has been test knit (by me!). The remaining sizes were created based on some math, and some guessing about proportions. I would love to have some unofficial test knitters working the other sizes of this pattern to let me know if my numbers work. I can't give you yarn or money, just my undying gratitude and my undivided attention to your comments and suggestions. If you're interested, email me at colleen[at]subwayknitter[dot]com.
Finally, if you left me a comment or sent me an email during the past few days, please accept my apologies for a less-than-speedy response.