Thursday, July 26, 2007

SAM3 - Final two

I managed to get two pairs of socks off the needles this month.

I've been working on the blue ones for what? Four months? Five months? I dunno. They've been sitting beside my desk and I would just pick them up and knit a few rounds every now and then. It's Regia No. F2025, a ragg yarn with two strands of dark blue and one each of light blue and beige.

The ribbing at the top is different because I tried to do a pattern, but it was totally obscurbed the the colours in the yarn. I gave up and went plain. I think they took so long because they were kind of boring but, in the end, I'll probably get a lot of wear out of them just because they are plain and boring. Funny how that works, eh.

On the other hand ...

... these ones just flew off the needles.

It's the Winter's End colourway in Ball and Skein. Totally yummy.

I loved watching the colours mingle and play.

I'm glad I've got some more of this in stash. She has some wonderful semi-solids and muted multis. Good stuff, indeed.

That's the end of SAM3. I won't be doing SAM4, because I have other things I want to do, including several UFOs that need to be Fd. Problem is, I just don't feel like doing them right now ... it's too hot and muggy. I tried to cast on some socks last night, but it just felt sticky. Maybe I need to go back to the cotton for a while.

Wednesday, July 18, 2007

Dishcloth Deluge

There ain't no way to glam this up, so I'm not even going to try. I was in W*lm*rt the other day and got caught up in the new-to-me colours of Bernat Handicrafter cotton. I went on a discloth spree. Since I've got nothing else, I'm going to share it with you. Aren't you lucky? :-)

Did you know they now make self-striping cotton?

If you want precision, you'll have to stripe it yourself, but it's not too bad. This is a colourway called Country. The pattern is, of course, the Ballband -- ubiquitous, not infamous -- and available lots of places but I used the one from here.

They also have a new colour series out that they call "Naturals." Here's a 4 Corners in Chocolate Ombre, a mix of dark brown, tan and white.

And a Garterlac in Earth Ombre - beige, brown and grey.

Here's something from the "How does that work?" department:

It's the Petal cloth in the Desert Rising colourway. I like the design and what it does for the colours, but I had a few problems with the pattern. As written, for sport weight yarn, it would have come out about the size of a coaster. Once I figured out how it worked, I enlarged it by (a) changing the cast-on to 155 stitches; (b) doing the first purl rows as 31 instead of 21; (c) changing the pattern from K 8, 7, 6... to K 13, 12, 11 .... ; and (d) picking up 14 instead of 9. The pick-up still gave me trouble. The pattern asks that you pick up and purl. I'm not really sure what that means exactly, and I think I did it four different ways. I'm not really happy with any of them. I should have dug out my Horst Schultz books, but I was too lazy. Maybe next time.

Still in the experimental but desert-type mood:

I remembered how much I loved Aija's beautiful adaptation for her Lizard Ridge afghan, so I had to give it a try in Country Brown Ombre. It didn't turn out too bad, and was actually a lot of fun to knit. When you just knit all the rows that don't have short rows, it's quick and easy, and flat instead of bumpy. Very cool.

Then, since I was still in the "How does that work?" department, I tried out that nifty little knitter's magic trick:

Checkerboard Illusions cloth, in green and cream.

By then, I was feeling a little silly and giddy, so I went with it:

Here's a fancy one for when the Queen comes to visit and wants to wash my dishes.

And even sillier:

The Skully cloth. I'm not much into pictures, but this was too cool to resist.

I think I've finally got all that out of my system and shall now return to my socks.

Saturday, July 07, 2007

Sock meets butt

I'm generally a pretty stubborn guy, but man oh man oh man, these socks have been kicking my butt hard.

I wanted to do the Dream Twister Socks designed by the very talented Mona Schmidt, who also designed the popular Embossed Leaves socks published by IK in both the magazine and Favorite Socks. (The pattern is available as a freebie on her blog, and -- Oh! I see she's working on a new one too!!)

I loved the design when I first saw it. Down the sides of the sock are some lovely little wavy things.

And down the front and back is this cool medallion. It actually comes in groups of threes, and you can just see the start of the other two medallions at the bottom of the picture.

The problem? Well, first, it's slow slogging. Very, very slow. What you see above is the result of a week's knitting, and it's all my fault. I kept making silly mistakes, and found it impossible to fix them because of all the twisted stitches and cables. I was cabling without cable needle, and kept losing stitches. I had to re-start at least three times, each time having to do the ribbing all over again. Then I smartened up and put in a lifeline after the ribbing. Presto, bingo, no more mistakes. I decided to use a cable needle when I had to cable near the end of needle, becauses it was safer, and not use one in the middle because it was faster. Yeah, that works, but it's hard to keep track of whether you're going in front or behind the needle, because it's the opposite depending on whether you use a cable needle or not. Since my mind is like a seive right now, I had to look at the chart each and every single time to make sure I was doing it right. The pattern is over three charts, one of which has a different multiple. These ain't tv knitting, my friends.

I finally took some time to admire my work. I stretched it out to admire the design. That's when it kicked me the hardest.

I guess I should have used bigger needles. Maybe 2.5s instead of 2.25s? Sigh. I'll re-do them ... some day. But not now. Now I just want some soothing stockingnette ... round and round and round, with no thinking.

For my future reference, I played with the ribbing set-up so it would flow into the design:

* (K2, P2) x 3, (K2, P4) x 2, (K2, P2) x 3, repeat from *

(when ready to start charts, knit first stitch onto last needle and start with Stitch # 2.)

Because I know that somebody will ask, the yarn is the Smooshy that Allison sent me in the Tea Swap, Good Luck Jade colourway -- very nice stuff!