21 June 2007

A new socky adventure

I've started something new.

Any guesses?

That's right, it's my very first attempt at a toe-up sock.

Knitty's Diamante socks, to be exact.

Now, you may recall that I purchased this yarn to make Eunny Jang's fabulous, wonderful Bayerische Socks, to which I have only one thing to say:


Okay, maybe that was a bit extreme. I tend never to look at a pattern and think, "oh, I couldn't make that" since I know damn well any knitted piece (no matter how intricate) is made up of little more than knit and purl stitches (both of which I know! Go me!)

However, I am the first to admit defeat after actually attempting a project that just isn't working, for one reason or another. I actually only got to the first row of cables, but there is an "increase row" after the cuff, which (combined with the one row of cables I did, and the size 0 needles, and the 96-stitch rounds) made me realize I would be struggling with it the whole time, that it would not be an enjoyable knit, and that I very well may break one of my brand-new size 0 dpns in half.


We move on.

Next I chose the "Carved Diamond" pattern from Barbara Walker's Second Treasury. It is a "twisted stitch" pattern according to Ms. Walker, but really that means it's full of 2-stitch cable crossings. Which (again) proved too tedious and small for my size 1 needles. I should probably mention that I have only ever knit plain stockinette and 3-1 ribbed socks before, and only on size 2s, so perhaps I really was in over my head.

I think I have finally found a happy medium. The Diamante Socks have an interesting stitch pattern, that is not lace (someday, but I'm still not convinced...), and is not made up of cable crossings. It is also a toe-up pattern, which I have never done before, and decided it would be a good learning experience, as so many knitters swear by toe-up as their sock-knitting-method of choice.

I cast on with the figure 8 cast-on, something I found to be quite fiddly, but it was only 12 stitches on each needle, so it's over pretty fast. I would like to try other toe-up methods, but for now I'm sticking with the figure 8, if only so both socks will match.

As you can see from the picture, I have a few rounds to go before the toe is complete, but I think it will work. I'm not entirely convinced toe-up is really the way to go for me. Certainly it makes the most sense: no worries about running out of yarn!, but I'll need to finish the sock before I pass judgement.

In other news, the second Thermal sleeve is finished, and the body has been cast on (though only about two rounds have been worked). Progress is progress, however slow.

15 June 2007

Bad Bad Bad

I am a bad, bad girl. Knitpicks was having a sale and I couldn't contain myself. I got enough yarn to make two sweaters and a Clapotis (which I still have never made, and am dying to) for $46. One sweater will have cost $11. ELEVEN DOLLARS, PEOPLE!

Knitpicks, I love you. Rock on with your affordable-yarny-goodness.

12 June 2007

Summer Knitty!

Summer Knitty is up!

After compulsively refreshing the Knitty homepage for days, I was thrilled to see the summer issue is out. Then, I was a little disappointed. Just a little. And mostly because the things I love cost more than I wanted to spend. Not a lot, mind you, just more than I wanted to spend.

And now, the patterns:

Hip in Hemp: Love. Love. Love. I am wary of the knitted skirt thing but I think this is really adorable and could be comfy and wonderful. In the recommended yarn, you're looking at $60 for the size I want. In Knitpicks, still about $35. It would be worth it, but I already have stuff in my cart over at Knitpicks and I was hoping for a pattern to bring the total up to just over $45 (to get the free shipping), and this cute skirt would kick me up to about $70 - and I'm just not willing to spend that much right now, especially considering the number of projects I still have lying around. If only I had a little girl hanging around I could knit for...

Zinzin: Cute in concept, and I do love a satin-y bow, but I can only imagine this looking floppy from the front (as in the third image). This would perhaps be cute for a child, with the bows in the back being twee and endearing rather than an attempt at sexy.

Coachella: Not bad, but in general I'm not into knitted tanks. Unless the gauge is ridiculously small (I'm talking US0s or 1s here, and certainly not the 7s and 9s called for in this pattern) I think knitted tanks end up looking too sweater-y.

Askew: As just noted, I'm not big on knitted tanks. However. I think this is really cute over the blouse in the second image. I also really like the neckline - maybe with long sleeves?

Tangerine Twist: Not to be negative, but ew. Shapeless and matronly. Alright, I'll take the stick out of my butt here for a second - the color's not bad and the cable pattern might be cute on a shaplier garment or socks or something.

Sophie: Really interesting. I really love the back view, from the front the collar detail looks a bit choking, perhaps? I think in general it's lovely, the colors and yarn look beautiful. But. Not for me. I do like the color change in the ribbing at the neck, though. Possibly an idea I'd use on a different sweater. I would probably bring the contrast color to the bottom edge, as well, just for the final row or even just the BO row. Gets the wheels turning.

Four pairs of socks: I'm not a big fan of any of these socks. I guess "Coupling" would have to be my favorite of the four, but in general I don't care too much for lace socks. Well, no, let me rephrase. I've never made lace socks and would imagine they would feel strange inside of shoes (and there's no way I'm making socks I can't wear with shoes). Other than that, the Breeze socks bother me a little: all it is is the "Tilting Ladder" pattern from Barbara Walker on a regular old sock. Anybody could have come up with this sock. It's an "insert-stitch-pattern-here" kind of thing. Maybe I'm being overly critical, but I like to see clever, interesting patterns on Knitty.

Unmentionables: Speaking of clever and interesting! I love these adorable bloomers. Love them. They look so great for lounging or sleeping. I worry that they would stretch and get all saggy and gross in the butt, but if done in washable yarn they might work. I would love to make them, but 10 balls of Knitpicks Shine Sport in "Cream" adds up to $25 - not a bad price, but my budget is smaller right now, and at this point, I'd rather spend my money on projects I can actually wear in public.

Wisp: Pretty. I like the buttons. I would never make it.

Prickly Girl: Like I said before, I don't exactly have little girls just lying around to knit for, but even if I did, I'm not sure this would be on my list. Again, the knitted tank thing really isn't my style.

Zodiac: I'm a little confused by these, but I think they're cute enough. If I had a baby perhaps I would make one. Since I have no baby, and by the time I do I will have long forgotten this pattern, it will have to go unmade.

Grow With Me: See comments for Prickly Girl.

Grr: Cute. Really cute. Not going to make it, but really cute none the less.

Chapeau Marnier: I really can't think about hats right now. I might come back to this one in the fall.

Well, there you have it. Seventeen patterns, only two I love, and none I'll be making, at least not in the near furture.

07 June 2007

FO: Spring Fling

Pattern: Spring Fling from Knitty Spring '05, size S.
Yarn: Knitpicks Shine Sport in Orchid, less than 6 skeins.
Needles: US 3 straights for ribbing, US 5 straights for lace pattern.
Started: May 11
Finished: May 29

I had a lot of fun working on this little cardigan. The yarn was really wonderful. It shed quite a bit while working on it but I haven't had any problems with the finished sweater pilling or anything. It's remarkably soft and squishy, it's light and has excellent drape, the color certainly grew on me. All in all a wonderful project.

The pattern itself was well written and fun. The lace was just enough interest to keep from dying but certainly not intricate enough to require all of my brain cells. (It's a k2, yo, skp on RS or a p2, yo, p2tog on WS).

I had intended to shorten the sweater because I wanted a real cropped cardigan where the ribbing began just under the bust, but then I forgot to measure and ended up making the body to the same measurements as the pattern indicates, and it's a good thing I did. It is the perfect length. It is exactly where I wanted it to be. I did make the sleeves a little bit longer - I think I did 2.5 or 3 inches of ribbing instead of the called-for 1.5 inches. I also added three buttons to the front ribbing instead of the hook-and-eye closure. I did a 2 sts BO buttonhole. I had intended to just do a YO or two, but wasn't liking how it looked.

I am convinced the model in the pictures at Knitty must be, like, 4 foot 7 or something. It says she is wearing the size XS (31" bust) and it looks quite long on her. I made the S size (34" bust) to fit around my 36" bust, so perhaps the negative ease shortened it a bit? That makes sense, except that mine is a lot shorter than it looks in the picture.

I really like how Knitty tells you what size is shown in the photos, but I think it would be nice if they also gave the bust measurement of the model. I realize many people would not want to be models if they knew their bust size would be broadcast on the internet, but sometimes I'll really like the fit of the sweater on the girl in the photo, only I have no idea how much ease I should use to get the same fit for myself.

This is my second sweater ever, and it also happens to be my second Jordana Paige sweater. Her designs are really lovely. I imagine I will be making more of them in the future.

01 June 2007

updates! huzzah!

The Spring Fling is complete. Look for pictures in the next couple of days (as soon as I can get someone else to take them). It was a fun project, but I'll talk more about it when I post the pictures.

In other knitting news:

I am stillworking on the ribbing for the second Thermal sleeve. Dear Lord it is slow. I only have a few rows before I begin the waffle stitch, though, so I'm hoping it will begin to move faster?

I've cast on for the Print of the Wave Stole and for the Bayerische socks. I don't know whether I should really talk about either at this point, sincec I have only about 4 rows of the stole finished and literally just a cast-on edge for the first sock. I've really wanted to be knitting recently, but (A) it is ungodly hot here these past few days and all I want to do is lie on the floor and be very very still and (B) my father is getting married TOMORROW so, as can be imagined, we've all been very very busy trying to get the house clean and straightened out and figuring out wedding plans, and lists of things to do before the wedding, during the wedding, after the wedding, and while Dad and C are gone on their honeymoon (just for the record: there is no possible way I will clean the cats' litter box, so that better not be on my list of chores....)

I'm really hoping to get some good knitting done this afternoon. My fabulous roommate is arriving today about three and she's bringing her knitting with her. She has just recently started her first sweater and I'm dying to see how it's coming along.

Okay, this was already too much of a break from the mile-long list of things I have to do today.