Sunday, December 16, 2007

Seasonal Sockage

I swear I didn't plan it this way. I cast on a bunch of socks last fall, and they've been sitting by my desk, waiting patiently for a few odd minutes here and there. These just happened to come off the needles this month.

The yarn is by Liza Souza, in the Little Devil colourway. I won it in a contest on Aija's blog a while ago. (Thanks again, Aija!)

I wasn't really expecting it to stripe -- very cool! The yarn is wonderfully soft merino and a joy to knit with.

The colours have a slight variegation within both the red and the black, which kind of helps to relieve the Wally effect, although it doesn't completely eliminate it. :-)

The yarn. although on the fine side, comes in humongous 560 yard hanks, and I had a whack of it left over. If you're knitting for someone with big feet, this would be a great choice.

This little beauty is from Jessie over at A Piece of Vermont. It's her Weybridge Blend, 60% Romney/Corriedale, 20% Mohair and 20% Alpaca. It's not soft like merino, but it has a great woolly feel as you knit it. This blend in a sport weight yarn gives a nice, toasty-warm sock, which is just what I need now that winter seems to be here in full force.

Jessie does wonderful subtle colourways. This one is no exception. She calls it Rosemary, and it's a wonderful silvery green with smudges of other greens thrown in.

These will need to be hand washed, so I knitted in a little reminder of that.

The weather outside is frightful, but my feet feel so delightful!

I was hoping to share some pictures of the winter wonderland out there, but it's still just a bit wild for that at the moment. Instead, please accept this knit blog version of a Christmas tree.

Wednesday, November 28, 2007

Opposite Ends of the Spectrum

I've finished a couple of pairs of socks.

Claudia Hand Painted Yarns, Bearded Iris colourway.

I love the colours in this yarn, but the tactile experience didn't quite match the visual. The colours were glorious, but I found the yarn a little hard and lifeless. They're a bit better after washing, but still not as soft and sproingy as many other yarns. Frankly, though, the colours make up for it. They're very vibrant.

I didn't notice until I took the pictures how differently the two socks came out -- one more brown, the other more purple. I quite like how they're sort of stripey, but not.

My other pair couldn't have been more different.

It's Tofutsies. I've wanted to try this yarn since it first came out. (I'm guessing my inner Cancerian drew me to the exoskeletons of my sea-borne brethren.) The skein kind of makes you dizzy, doesn't it. It's a mix of white, a black-grey marl, and a brown-beige marl. It kind of makes you dizzy when it's knit up as well.

The yarn again felt kind of hard when I was knitting it up, but a trip through the washer and dryer softened it up quite nicely. I found it quite splitty on the first sock, but by the second one my hands must have got accustomed to it and I had no problems. Except for picking up the gusset stitches, that is. It took forever, not because it was splitting but because I had a hard time seeing the stitches with all that marling going on.

This was my first foray into cotton-mix yarns. I am a little surprised at how much I like the resultant fabric, but I think I'll have to revise my standard sock formula. These fit just a trifle loosely, despite being ribbed all the way down. I think I'll have to reduce the number of stitches for my next pair.

In the Other News Department, my missing cable needle still hasn't shown up. I think it's gone south for the winter. When I first put out an APB on him, several people suggested that I simply cable without a needle. I find that works well on larger things, but for socks, I tend to lose stitches without the extra holder. I've not been able to find any more metal cable needles, just the icky plastic ones, so I've had to improvise.

Curtain hooks to the rescue!

Monday, November 12, 2007

Norovember Scarf

One ball.

Two balls.

Three balls.

Four balls.

1 x 1 rib till the cows come home.

Easy peasey.

More fun than should be legal.

Silk Garden 230 & 208.

The Noro Striped scarf, as popularized by Brooklyn Tweed.

Go make one.

The hardest part is trying to winnow down the 237 pictures you'll take.

Saturday, November 03, 2007

KTS4 - it's here !!

It's been a good mail week here chez Jickets -- my Knitters' Tea Swap 4 package has arrived!

My swap partner was Bridget, and she certainly came through for me. She sent me two types of tea, both of which smell wonderful; a tin in which to keep my tea, which I must admit was an accessory that I didn't know I Absolutely Needed until now, some very yummy Italian cookies, gorgeous blue and green stripey sock yarn, and some incredibly soft bulky alpaca yarn -- I'm thinking it wants to be a hat. Thank you so much, Bridget!

I live in Canada, and I do work for a living. The result of these two factors means that I'm often stuck, particularly in the winter, trying to find decent light for photographs. It's sometimes even difficult to get my trademark crappy front stoop photos when the window of opportunity is only an hour or two. I managed to convince myself that I needed help.

Help has arrived! I now don't have to worry about getting a quick shot between snow squalls and before my fingers freeze. It's just a matter of piling everything into there and snapping away!

Maybe not. This might take a bit of practise.

Not too bad.
Hmmmm - soft and squishy!

I had to go stash diving to play a bit.

Potential scarfey stripeyness!

This could be a bigger time suck than even Ravelry -- but I can drink tea and munch cookies while I'm at it!

Saturday, October 27, 2007


Big yarn ....

... makes big socks.

(Man's second best friend included for scale.)

A coupla trips through the washing machine ...

... gives you a wonderfully thick and warm pair of slipper socks. The pattern is Hamer's Humdingers, a variation of the old Two-strand Wool-Ease socks. Quick and easy. Very quick, as in you can easily do a whole sock in one evening.

Progress is progressing on my Curve of Pursuit, albeit slowly.

That's Square Six of Twelve finished, which might lead you to surmise that I'm halfway done, but you would be mistaken because each square is 1.5 times bigger than its predecessor. It's now at a stage where there's more knitting than picking up of stitches, so it should be easier to work on in bits and pieces of spare time.

I've decided not to do the Secret of Chrysopolis. First it morphed from a shawl into a stole, which gave me pause, and then it developed some hearts and stuff. It's a nice pattern, but not what I was hoping it would be. You can see someone else's here.

I'm in the Mystic Waters KAL, and this one is looking quite nice so far ... again, someone else's can be seen here. I like this one a lot better, but I don't think the rusty alpaca I was hoping to use would work as well for this. I'll sit on the side for a bit until I decide. If I do go for it, I might have to spring for some blue-ish Sea Silk. T'would be a pity, that. :-) Or maybe I should dig out the Swallowtail. Hmmmm.

In the Other News Department, I'm in Ravelry! Not very far in, but I'm in. I don't think I'll be posting stash, etc., but it should be good for researching patterns, etc. My Ravelry name is CriminyJickets; you may friend me, if you wish. (I'm not really sure yet what that means, but what the heck.)

Digging further into the Other News Department, my cable needle has run away from home. If you see it, please tell it Daddy loves it and would like it to come back home. I'm hoping to not have to resort to posting its picture on milk cartons.

Monday, October 08, 2007

Ridges and Ribs

That Mama-E ... she's always up to something. A while ago, she approached me about creating a colourway that was guy friendly. Hmm. Guy, or guy knitter? I went with guy knitter. :-)

I told her I really liked the Northern Lights colours in this picture. She took it from there, and created this yarn.

Of course, that wasn't the end of the deal. My end of the bargain was that I then had to come up with a new sock pattern.


At the time I was thinking about this, there was a lot of discussion on various blogs about patterns that would avoid pooling and striping. I don't think this yarn would have done that, given the way it was dyed, but I wanted to come up with something that might help with other yarns that would pool. I ended up using an elongated slip stitch, which should be enough to pull any yarn out of the pool, and twisting it to create a bit of a ridge for added texture.

Of course I had to use my favourite heel -- the Eye of the Partridge -- but I decided to carry one ridge down each side of the flap. I don't normally do that, but it was fun and gives it a bit of a different look.

Ridges and Ribs Socks

Fingering weight yarn and needles to give 9 stitches/inch
Sized to fit a man's Small or woman's Medium

(All stitches are slipped purl-wise unless otherwise noted, but always with yarn on wrong side.)

Cast on 72 stitches, join, (24-24-24) not twisting, etc.

Set up round (work once) * K3, P2, K1, P2 * repeat around

Commence pattern, 8-stitch/4-round repeat.

R1: * K3, P2, K1 wrapping stitch twice, P2 *

R2: * K3, P2, slip 1 knit-wise dropping extra wrap, P2 *

R3: * K3, P2, slip 1 knit-wise, P2 *

R4: Same as R3

Repeat the four pattern rows a total of 22 times, approx 7 inches (or to desired cuff length, ending with R4)

Divide for heel flap: K1 from needle 1 onto needle 3. (Instep begins and ends with 2 K stitches) Bring yarn to front, slip 1, bring yarn back, return stitch. The first instep stitch is wrapped. Turn and set up heel flap (Centre portion is EOP, with ridges on each side):

P1, K2, P1 wrapping stitch twice, K2, P17, P2tog, P8, K2, P1 wrapping twice, K2, P1 (38 stitches.)

Bring yarn to back, slip 1, yarn front, return stitch (instep stitch wrapped.) Turn, RS facing.

Heel flap (repeat the following 4 rows 9 times – 36 rows total):

R1: Sl 1, P2, slip 1 knit-wise dropping extra wrap, P2, (slip 1, K1) 13 times, P2, slip 1 knit-wise dropping extra wrap, P2, K1.

R2: Sl 1, K2, slip one purl-wise, K2, P26, K2, slip one purl-wise, K2, P1.

R3: Sl 1, P2, slip 1 knit-wise, return stitch to left needle and slip it knit-wise again, P2, (K1, slip 1) 13 times, P2, slip 1 knit-wise, return stitch to left needle and slip it knit-wise again, P2, K1.

R4: Sl 1, K2, P1 wrapping stitch twice, K2, P26, K2, P1 wrapping twice, K2, P1.

NB: On last repeat, wrap the purl stitch only once, NOT TWICE.

Turn heel (Round heel):

Sl 1, K20, SSK, K1, turn.
Sl 1, P5, P2tog, P1, turn.
Sl 1, K6, SSK, K1, turn.
Sl 1, P7, P2tog, P1, turn.

Continue working one more stitch before decreasing across gap until all stitches are worked – 22 stitches remain.

Sl 1, K across.

Pick up one stitch in each slipped stitch along heel flap (18 stitches).

Using a fresh needle, work across instep, picking up the wrap on the two outermost stitches and working ridges and ribs as set, starting with R1 of pattern.

Using another needle, pick up one stitch in each slipped stitch along heel flap (19 stitches) Yes, one extra on the second side of the flap. K 11 to middle of heel/beginning of round.

Knit to the last three stitches on needle one, K2tog, K1. On the instep needle, knit in pattern. On needle three, K 1, SSK, knit to end. Alternate knitting plain rounds and decrease rounds until you are back at 72 stitches.

Knit foot until approximiately 2 inches short of desired length, ending on row 4. Discontinue instep pattern and commence toe decreases. Distribute stitches 18-36-18.

Decrease Rnd: Needle 1, knit to last three stitches, K2tog, K1. Needle 2, K1, SSK, knit to last three stitches, K2tog, K1. Needle 3, K1, SSK, knit to end.

Knit three rounds plain.

*Knit one decrease round, knit two rounds plain * Repeat between asterisks two times.

*Knit one decrease round, knit one round plain* Repeat between asterisks three times.

Knit only decrease rounds until 16 stitches remain. Graft toe and make second sock.

Thursday, October 04, 2007

That tunnel has a light at the end.

You know how sometimes you just feel so busy that you get overwhelmed and instead of getting everything done you get nothing done? Yeah, that was September.

In lieu of any actual knitting content, and in an effort to avoid anyone having to ask, "Are you still alive", please allow me to merely point to several things that have caught my attention recently, the first being Blogging Without Obligation.

I like this. A lot. As in, I intend to follow it. If you like the philosophy behind eradicating "post pollution," feel free to share.

Next up: Fun with short rows!! Very cool. And then, more fun with short rows -- on socks!! I'm going to have to figure out how to adapt that into a sock that I can wear.

Next up: Knitters Tea Swap 4 is now open!

That's all for now. I may have an FO this weekend, but maybe not.

Sunday, September 09, 2007


I seem lately to be suffering from SSS -- no, not Second Sock Syndrome, but Seasonal Startitis Syndrome. Whenever the seasons change, I say to myself, "This spring I should knit THIS," or, "This fall I should knit THAT." Given my abysmal track record at finishing large projects, I do know better than to start them. Usually, anyway. I've been good for a long time, but the last two weeks I've given free reign to my impulses. Things have been flying on, and then back off, the needles at an alarming rate. I think I've settled down a bit now, though. I'm not obligating myself to finish these things, but ... well, we'll see.

Yes, it's a swatch. But please note, it's a completed swatch! Blocked and all. I signed up for the Secret of Chrysopolis. It's a German Yahoo group, but the pattern will also be coming out in English. I don't normally like doing "secret" things, but for some reason the name of this caught my attention. Yes, I admit it's strange to do something just because you like the name of it. I have nothing to offer in my defence. :-) I did have some reservations about the swatch as I was knitting it, but it came out quite nicely. This may be as far as it gets, or I may carry on; I reserve the right to decide later. I do know that at the first mention of nupps or beads, I'm outta there. :-) The yarn is Misti Alpaca, and it's very nice to work with.

This is kind of a jumbled mess right now, with lot of ends sticking out here and there, but it will sort itself out in due time. It's the beginnings of a Curve of Pursuit from Woolly Thoughts. You can seem some particularly nice finished ones here and here. I found picking up the initial stitches to be fiddly (read, a PITA!!), but once you start going round and round, it's a lot of fun. I love short rows. The yarn is Indicieta Alpaca, so if I finish this, it will be soft and cuddly and very warm.

This I am hoping will grow up to be a scarf. It's Paula's very cool CorruGarterGator scarf. I'm doing the fingering weight version using 37 stitches (because 37 is my favourite number -- good a reason as any; right?), using the lovely handspun that I received from Melinda in the Knitter's Tea Swap 2. I think the texture and subtle colouration of the yarn go very well with the stitch pattern. Those white spots you see in the photo are actually the sparkles in the yarn!! Very cool. I love knitting this, and it should make a great, long, skinny, soft and sparkly scarf.

Speaking of swaps, I see the International Scarf Exchange 5 is starting up, if anyone is interested. I think I'll sit this one out, though, because I don't want any deadline knitting this fall. Also, the Knitters Tea Swap 4 will be starting up soon.

I may also have four or five socks on the needles, with one pair getting close to finished. More about that when they're done. I'm thinking all that should keep me going for the fall, so no more SSS. If I get antsy, I do have just a few UFOs that could use FOing. Maybe I should get to them . Or not.

I'm hungry. I think I'll go find something to eat. :-)

Tuesday, August 28, 2007

Versailles Bookmark

Books make great gifts, but I like to personalize them a bit by including a handmade bookmark. Here's one I recently finished.

There are many very nice bookmark patterns already on the net, but I haven't yet found one that has lace patterning on both sides, so I thought I'd put this up here. It's a quick and easy way to introduce yourself to this type of knitting.
I apologize for the crappy pictures. I had to use the flash to get something without shadows, and the colour red continues to confound my cheap little Radio Shack camera.
This bookmark is knit length-ways and is self-fringing. The pattern kind of looks like leaves and kind of looks like rectangles, depending on your mood, I guess.

(Edit December 28, 2011:  Blogger has apparently decided that all my nicely numbered rows should actually appear as bullet points instead.  Blech.  There's a properly formatted copy of this pattern available for free on Ravelry.  I would recommend you download that instead.)

Versailles Bookmark (Versailles Pattern is from Barbara Walker's Second Treasury.)
Materials: I used Opera No. 20 Crochet Cotton and 1.75 mm needles. You can use whatever you want as long as the solid parts look kinda solid and the holes look kinda holey.
Using a provisional cast-on (this one works wonderfully!), cast on 68 stitches.
Set up row: K 7, place marker, K 54, place marker, K 7.

  1. (RS) K 4, P 1 TBL, K 2, knit across to second marker, K 2, P 1 TBL, K 4.
  2. (WS) K 4, K1 TBL, K2, knit across to second marker, K2, K1 TBL, K4.
Repeat R1, R2, then R1 - 6 rows in total, including the set-up row.
The outermost seven stitches on each end are border stitches and the portion between the markers will be knit in pattern. The format is four garter stitches, 1 reverse stockingnette twisted on every row, two garter stitches, marker, pattern, marker, 2 garter stitches, 1 reverse stockingette twisted on every row, four garter stitches. The reverse twisted stockinette stitches are important -- don't forget them.
The lace pattern is irregular. Don't bother trying to put markers between the repeats, because it won't work. When you reach the second marker, sometimes you'll be able to do a full repeat, but sometimes you'll have extra stitches left over or not enough for a full repeat. Just end before the second marker with the stitches indicated after the word "end".
There are a lot of P2tog-TBLs in here. I hate those. Instead, I used "Purl 1 and slip it back to the left needle, lift the second stitch on the left needle over the stitch just purled and off the needle, slip the stitch back to the right needle." If you wish, you can do that too, and I won't tell anyone.
Keeping the border in pattern, knit the lace between the markers.
  1. (WS) Purl.
  2. K2 * YO, SSK, K8 * end K2
  3. K2 *YO, P2tog, P5, P2tog-TBL, YO, P1 * end K2
  4. K4 * YO, SSK, K3, K2tog, YO, K3 *
  5. K2, P2 * YO, P2tog, P1, P2tog-TBL, YO, P5 * end P3, K2
  6. K6 * YO, Sl1-K2tog-PSSO, YO, K7 * end K5
  7. K2 * P3, P2tog-TBL, YO * end K2
  8. K3 * YO, SSK, K3 * end K1
  9. K2, P1 * P2tog-TBL, YO, P3 * end P2, K2
  10. K5 * YO, SSK, K3 * end K2
  11. K1 * P2tog-TBL, YO, P3 * end P1, K2
  12. K2 * YO, SSK, K3 * end K2
  13. Same as Row 3
  14. Same as Row 4
  15. Same as Row 5
  16. Same as Row 6
  17. K2, P1 * P3, YO, P2tog * end K1
  18. K5 * K2tog, YO, K3 * end K2
  19. K2, P1 *YO, P2tog, P3 * end P2, K2
  20. K3 * K2tog, YO, K3 * end K1
  21. K2 * P3, YO, P2tog * end K2
  22. K1 * K2tog, YO, K3 * end K3
  23. Same as Row 3
  24. Same as Row 4
  25. Same as Row 5
  26. Same as Row 6
  27. Purl.
Starting with a RS row, knit six rows of garter stitch as at the beginning, keeping the border stitches in pattern.
Binding off, RS facing: K 4, P1-TBL, K1, * replace the last two stitches onto the left needle and knit them together through back loop, K1 * repeat until you reach the second reverse twisted stockingnette, P1-TBL, replace the last two stitches onto the left needle and knit them together through back loop. Cut the yarn, leaving a tail long enough to weave in. You are left with four stitches on the right needle and four on the left. Pull the needles out and just let those stitches hang there for the moment. Take the tail that you just cut and weave it in on the wrong side through the column of twisted stockinette. Pick up the stitches from the provisional cast-on and bind off in a similar fashion. (Depending on which cast-on you used and how you picked the stitches up, you could be on either the wrong side or the right side. Just be sure to twist the stitches that need twisting and not binding off the four outermost garter stitches on each end.)
Finishing: Unravel the four garter stitches on each end up to the twisted stitch. The twisted stitch will not unravel. Snip the far end of the loops so that each loop becomes two strands of fringe. Wet block, stretching it out so the pattern shows well and the ends and sides are straight. Smooth out the kinks in the fringe so it is straight. When dry, unpin and trim the fringe ends evenly.
That's it. If you knit this, I'd love to see a picture.