Sunday, February 26, 2006

SMAK February - Blue Moose - done!

Under the wire, but done, nonetheless!

But first, I was asked if I had finished those poor little socks that just needed the toe grafted. Yes, indeed, I did.

These are from one of my favourite patterns, Joan Hamer's Ribbers, knit in Emu Superwash DK, Colour No. 1001. I can see now why I didn't finish them. I must have become annoyed because the sock on the left was nice and tweedy and the sock on the right flashed or pooled. Oh well, I'm wearing them anyway. They're comfy cozy. (Excuse the ratty jeans ... they're also comfy cozy!)

The February SMAK socks are also comfy cozy. Aren't they kewl?

Things I learned:

  • Do not decide to do your first ever stranded sock as a project for which you'll be putting a picture up on the internet for millions ... well, thousands ... hundreds? ... a dozen people to look at. This way lies STRESS.
  • My stranding skills suck big time. The first sock was very, very tight. So tight that I have to fight to get it on. I resolved to concentrate on stranding l-o-o-s-e-r. The second sock is much looser -- so much looser that it's probably an extra inch bigger LOL. I really need to work on this, because there are so many beautiful socks out there that use this skill.
  • My next stranded socks will be a simple geometric pattern. Trying to carry a loose float basically halfway around the sock, all through the moose's body, was not the best idea for a first stranded project.
  • One side of the pattern has the moose, the other the forest. Trees are fun to knit, moose are not. But moose are cuter.

The pattern is a kit from Folknits:

Things I changed:

  • I decided to eliminate the fold-over cuff and just make the moose part of the leg, which meant that I had to knit the chart from the top down instead of the bottom up. And for the second sock, from left to right instead of right to left. Do not attempt to do this while watching tv.
  • I went with a heel and toe that I know fit me and basically ignored the pattern except for the chart.
  • I had to make the chart bigger to fit my leg and foot .... a whole tree's worth bigger :-) I think I threw in a few extra snowflakes too just to make the stranding easier.

Overall, I'm happy with them, and I'm relieved they're finished. The Sisu yarn was very nice to work with and I'd happily use it again. They're not perfect, but the guilt from having them sit there undone is gone. I like how the moose are on one side and the forest on the other, although I had a few stressful moments when I thought I had the moose facing backwards instead of forwards.

I really need to work on my stranding, but I think I'll give it a rest for now. My FLAK is feeling neglected. So for March, I'll take the easy way out and finish these:

One sock is done through the heel, and there they stall. They WILL be done by the end of March.

Saturday, February 11, 2006

Two steps back

Haven't started my FLAK saddles. This afternoon I wind the balls and get going.

Pfft. I had one of my February socks all the way down to the heel flap and realized that I had made a MAJOR mistake. Plus it looked like crap anyway. Fooey. RIP. I'm back to square one and it now looks like this:

I've thought about it, and I'm going to re-engineer what I was doing previously I'm hoping it works this time, because hey, I don't like the idea of knitting one sock four times :-).

In other news, I went to my favourite tea store yesterday and got some Cherry Rose and Yellow Mountain green tea ... yummy. In the mall just outside the tea store was a table set up by some ladies who had done some craft work and were selling their wares in support of a local charity. Commendable, eh? I couldn't help myself. I took a look. Some mini-quilts, a bit of crochet, and lots of knitting. Slippers, socks, mitts, scarves, etc. The prices were ridiculous. I hate to see hard work so undervalued. They had Stupid Puffy Slippers out of Ph*nt*x for $13, and wool socks for $14. Yes, wool socks for $14. So I had to buy some. For $27, I got this:

I feel like a criminal. Sort of. But my feet are toasty.

Wednesday, February 08, 2006

FLAK - le Swatch

This is the swatch I ended up with for the FLAK, after a fair bit of experimentation. I wanted to simplify it a bit, perhaps make it appear a bit more solid.

Besides re-arranging the cables just a little bit:

  1. The filler stitch is now Seed Stitch. The two-row pattern will be easier on my brain, especially when we switch from back and forth to in the round.
  2. The wave cable is gone. In previous swatch incarnations, I had tried various subsitutions but I finally decided to just use another horseshoe instead.
  3. The rope cable is now a left crossing instead of right. I knit continental, and left crosses, particularly without a cable needle, seem to be easier.

The yarn is Briggs & Little Regal, colcour 23, Forest Brown. And it's really hard to get a picture of it. I tried about 20 times, and this is the best I could get. I apologize -- I know it's a crappy pic.

The centre panel is the same three horseshoes, but I've surrounded each of them with a rope. On each side of the centre panel, there will be a rope, honeycomb, braid, honeycomb, rope. On the outer edges will be another horseshoe.

One major benefit so far is that I finally learned how to cable without a cable needle!! It is great for the rope and the honeycomb, especially since each of them is just one stitch crossing. It goes much faster without the cable needle, and I seem to make fewer mistakes without it. I'm still using a cable needle for the braid and the honeycomb, but I can live with that.

All righty then, I guess that's it for today. February socks are started and well on their way. Time to knit some saddles, I guess :-) .

Tuesday, February 07, 2006

Socks - out of the chaos

All righty, then.

First, I think I figured out how to change the links over there --->. We'll see. They certainly don't make it easy, do they. However, it's free, so quit complaining, right? Right. And since they are paying for it, I left their Goggley thingy there. But you don't have to click on it if you don't want to.

Second, my FLAK swatch is finally done, washed, and in the process of drying. Yippee! Perhaps some pictures tomorrow.

Third, socks. I thought I had a few unfinished socks laying around, possibly waiting for mates or some such, so I did a bit of digging around. I did not in my wildest dreams think that I would find this:

There are 11 -- yes, ELEVEN -- "pairs" of socks in various stages of incompletion. Egads. Each in their own little bag, and each with a set of DPNs safely ensconced in their midst. No wonder I couldn't find any more needles when I needed them. And these just came from the two most obvious places. Who knows what lurks elsewhere? Yikes.

This pitiful pile includes this pair:

Yup, one sock is finished, and the other is done except for joining the toes and weaving ends. What the heck? Five minutes work and I'd have had another loverly pair of toasty sockies this winter. Why did I leave them sitting at this stage, and how long have they been like this? I dunno. I can barely remember knitting them, although I do remember the yarn. Or at least the colour of the yarn. I could legitimately finish them and claim them for February, but that just doesn't feel right.

So intead:

This will be my February socks. Or it will become so, I mean. I remember starting them, and then not being happy and ripping them apart again. I figured out what was wrong and adapted the pattern. And then they sat. And sat. And sat. No more. I will finish these socks - BOTH OF THEM - before the end of February. It says so right here, in black and white, so it must be so.

Sunday, February 05, 2006

c'est moi

So, what do you need to know about me? Ummm, nothing really, I guess. So you can skip right over this, if you're so inclined. But if you're the nosey type, read on ...

So, I'm a male, and I am a knitter. There, I said it. Sometimes I knit lots, and sometimes I don't knit at all. But still, I am a knitter. And as a knitter, I tend to get, ummm, sidetracked. Yeah, that's it - sidetracked. It's not that I can't focus, and it's not that I don't like having finished things. Because I do. It's just that I get, ummm, sidetracked.

So, in an effort to stay on course, I've decided to joing up with a few knit-alongs, aka KALs. You know, those lemming-ish groups of needle-packing grannies who all clamour to knit the same, stupid thing. Yup, I've become one of them.

So, this blog ... I'm getting there, relax .... is an effort to keep on track with those things. See, if I have to publish a progress report ... PROGRESS report ... then that will mean I will have had to made some progress. Right? And if I have to put in a picture of that progress, well, that means that I can't really lie, or cheat, or stretch the truth. I will have had to make PROGRESS.


So, so far I have joined, or tried or join, or will be joining, two KALs: the FLAK and the SMAK. When I have more time, I will try to figure out how to edit those links over there ---->. But for now, I have to go knit and make some .... PROGRESS.

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