Wednesday, December 25, 2013

Practice socks

These are my Irish cottage knitting practice socks in stockinette. They turned out a bit small - I knit 9.5 stitches per inch instead of my usual 7-8 on US1 DPNs, and I blame the new knitting method. I was also using the square needles, which may have also contributed to the tight stitches.

Yarn: S.R. Kertzer On Your Toes 4-ply with aloe vera, in colorway 3824
Needles: US1 DPNs (square)
Pattern: Sock Recipe by Stephanie Pearl-McPhee, with a short row heel and rounded toe

I tried to get a photo of the socks in situ, but most of the pictures were "art shots", i.e. blurry. That kid just does not sit still! As you an see, she is also wearing her leg warmers.

Next trick is to knit a pair in reverse stockinette, so I can practice lever knitting purl stitches.

Monday, December 16, 2013

Tinker's damn

I've been dutifully practicing my lever (Irish cottage) knitting. It's like learning to knit all over again. If the resulting fabric weren't so much better than my regular knitting, I would probably give up. The knit stitch is going rather well, but purling feels awkward. Current practice project is a pair of socks for my granddaughter, in stockinette. The next pair will be in reverse stockinette, to give me plenty of opportunity to learn to purl.

Preschool-size feet do not need the bulk of a heel flap, so I am doing a short row heel on these socks. I have done short row heels before, but for some reason, these gave me fits. Each one took two days to complete. Since I find it next to impossible to unknit (or tink) a picked-up double-wrapped stitch, each time I stumbled, I had to start the heel all over again.

After slaving through heel number one, I thought the second one would go more smoothly. NOT. Each time, just as I reached the home stretch, something would go wrong and one stitch would completely disappear. I don't know if I was accidentally knitting two stitches together when picking up the double wraps or what. I finally decided NOT to pick up the wraps at all, partly because Stephanie P-M said it was not necessary and I wanted to see for myself, but also so if I made an error again, I could back out of it gracefully.

Incredibly, I DID make another error, which turned out to be a dropped stitch, but then was able to finish. And you know what? Picking up the wraps IS optional. In fact, it looks smoother than the heel with the picked up wraps. I think EZ eschews picking up wraps as well. So there you have it - two knitting experts' opinion on wraps.

Sunday, December 15, 2013

Warm legs

I use yarn as decor. When my granddaughter pulled a skein of sparkly yarn from a shelf and expressed a desire for something made from it, I could not resist. It is sock yarn, so that limited the possibilities, but every little girl could use a pair of legwarmers.

Yarn: Wisdom Yarns Marathon Socks North Pole 'Balsam Fir'
Needles: US2 and US1
Pattern: None. I simply cast on 44 stitches, knit 2x2 ribbing on US2's for 4 inches, then switched to US1 needles for 4 inches. Finished by binding off in ribbing.

I was going to add stirrups, but that seemed like it would be too bulky for little feet.

Saturday, December 14, 2013


Alpaca is soft and warm, but the yarn tends to stretch. I made myself a scarf in alpaca a while back, and it just keeps getting longer and longer. My SO needed a new scarf (the first one I knit him has disappeared; I figure it is in the back of a closet, invisible to the naked eye, because it is black), and despite my experience, I went with alpaca.

I purchased some brown and some tweed (brown and cream) yarn, thinking I could alternated them every two rows, but the brown overwhelmed the cream, so I used just the tweed. I thought maybe if I knit the scarf lengthwise, it might not stretch as much. That was a misstep as well, one that I could not determine until the whole thing was complete. Still, I like the result.

Yarn: Sanctuary Yarn, in 'Tweed'
Needles: US6
Pattern: None. I cast on 300 stitches and knit in garter stitch until I ran out of yarn.

The yarn came from the Big Red Barn, where the owner raises alpacas. The colors are the natural colors of the animals; I believe the brown is from Louie and the cream from Babe.

Friday, December 13, 2013

Handmade for the holidays... but not by me

Last Saturday (the 7th), my SO and I went to the Handmade Holidays Sale at Teasel Hill. Teasel Hill Angoras has a spin-in on fifth Saturdays (hope to get to one sometime) and host this event every December. I know I have seen some of the same vendors at the Northeast Indiana Fiber Festival and elsewhere. In fact, now I spend as much time chatting with familiar faces at fiber fests as I do shopping. Maybe I have found my "tribe"?

The Big Red Barn was there, with (among other things) their latest product, roving roses. Each "rose" is 4 ounces of dyed roving, ready for spinning. Or, in my case, blending. For someone who is color challenged like me, having the color combinations pre-selected is great.

And these are dryer balls (can't recall the vendor). They are made of wool and are supposed to help clothes dry faster and without softener (which I don't use anyway). I decided to give them a whirl (heh) and I think they help keep my sheets from ending up in one big bedroll in the dryer.

My SO cheerfully accompanies me to fiber fests, acting as my personal sherpa. This time he wound up in conversation with Mr. Teasel Hill as they discussed the venue - a pole building that someone turned into a house which the current occupants continue to modify to suit their needs. I felt like a mom whose son made a new friend.

Then we ate at the Magic Wand Restaurant in Churubusco. If you are ever in "Turtle Town", check it out.

Monday, December 09, 2013

Back to the future

After a year or so of combining knitting, gardening, and me into one blog, I've decided to go back to separate blogs for each. I am also toying with the idea of copying the knitting-related posts to this blog so they will all be in one place. That sounds like a really tedious time-consuming task, so we'll see how far that idea goes. Anyway, welcome back to Bitten by Knittin'.