Monday, October 29, 2012

Darn that sock!

Now that the weather has finally become more autumn-like, I've been wearing my hand knit socks. It's so nice to have soft, warm socks to wear in the cooler temperatures, especially when I'm waiting for a bus in the early morning chill. Anyway, with all that sock wearing comes sock washing, and so the other day I gathered something like 7 pairs of socks to hand wash and hang to dry. I didn't hand wash the superwash socks - just the ones that I'm pretty sure are Not Superwash (note to self: knit more superwash socks for yourself). As I was putting the Koigu pair into the soak, I noticed a small hole on the heel, but it was half submerged when I noticed it, so I went ahead and put it all the way in. I'd rather darn a clean sock rather than a dirty one.

So once the sock had dried, I grabbed my darning egg and took a good look at the hole, which was a little bigger after washing than when it went in. There were a couple things going on: along the bottom of the hole, it appeared that one stitch had been dropped about three rows. Then I noticed that the yarn had broken above the dropped stitch in two rows. And lastly, the row above that had pulled itself out of two stitches. After looking at a few videos from the kind folks at Knit Picks, I decided that I would treat the hole in a similar way to their "accidental hole."

First thing first: I took care of the dropped stitch. In the photo, I have a size 000 double-pointed needle in the stitch and the yarn from where it was dropped above. I got it back up the three rows it had dropped and secured it with a locking stitch marker. I then used one of my tiny little dpns to secure the two stitches above the hole that had lost their buddies below. It's difficult to tell from the photo below, but those two fuzzy bits in the middle are the broken rows.

Next I threaded a finer tapestry needle with some of the yarn I had leftover from when I knit these socks (nearly two years ago!). Well to the right and below the hole, I began duplicate stitching to give myself a base for the new stitches I would have to make for the broken yarn. When I got to the part of the hole where I had to create new stitches, I used a dpn, rather than the Knit Picks method of having a thread to catch the new stitches on, because I thought I might be better able to see how to add the new stitches if it looked more like knitting than sewing. (I think if I do this again, I'll probably use the thread method, because it will curve around the darning egg.) Once I had the two new rows, I joined the new stitches to their friends up top and closed the hole. Then I duplicate stitched a couple more rows, just to make sure there was plenty of new yarn to secure the darning.

It doesn't look like the original heel, in fact it looks a little clumsy, but it's not bad for a first try at darning. It feels pretty good on my foot, and I think that as the sock is worn more and washed more, it will begin to feel less like a patch and more like a reinforcement. After all the duplicate stitching, I turned the sock inside-out to hide the ends and used one of my mom's tiny, tiny crochet hooks to pull the broken ends of the old yarn back to the wrong side of the fabric. I think it's ready to wear. I expect I'll soon have to more socks to darn as winter comes along, but I'm not scared! I've done this once now and I'm ready to do it again when I have to.

That's all for now, I think. Next time I'll show the finished FrankenScylla socks and maybe a new owl or two. Until then, Friends!

Friday, October 19, 2012

It's not exactly Rhinebeck.

Every time I open up my blog reader lately, I get to see multiple posts describing people's Rhinebeck preparations: what sweaters they're making to wear there, what projects they're taking along, and all the yarn they're expecting to purchase. I'm not saying I'm jealous - oh, who am I kidding? I am jealous. I wish I were at Rhinebeck (aka the Dutchess County Sheep and Wool Festival). I wish I were making a fancy new sweater to show off. I wish I had a bunch of projects to work on alongside the knitterati. I wish I were buying a bunch yarn. Maybe next year.

But then I remembered that this weekend is the Southern Indiana Fiber Arts Festival, which would be almost like Rhinebeck, but smaller. Since I work on Saturdays and the Festival is a Friday/Saturday deal, I went after work this afternoon, ready to see some sheep, pet some bunnies, and fondle some yarn. I happened to be wearing my fancy new Zori sweater and I was secretly hoping that everyone would be amazed at my knitting prowess.

The Festival is in Corydon, Indiana, about 30 miles from Louisville. After an uneventful drive, I arrived at the town square, which is where Indiana's first Capitol was established. I wandered around the square, taking pictures of the old State Capitol building. It's a nice, old building and maybe if I think of it, I'll get to come back when it's open, so I can walk around the inside.

After I got my fill of the historic charm of Corydon's downtown, I went the few blocks down the street to the Fairgrounds, where the Festival was going on. As it was a little cold and intermittently rainy, I didn't expect there to be too many people there, but I did manage to run into one friend and her daughter, and one of the ladies from the Grinny Possum yarn shop.

I took a lap through all the booths in the first building, then went across the way to the other building to see those booths. Two buildings of vendors. Mostly roving and needle felting supplies, but there were also booths with hand-dyed yarns and some with really pretty undyed yarns. In the no-man's land between the two buildings, there was one farm's booth with two sheep outside in a pen. The poor things were wet and hanging out under a little umbrella in the corner, eating away. One was kind enough to look up when I took its picture, but the other was focused on dinner. I can't say I blame him, I could've gone for a snack.

The second building had an interesting booth with some really gorgeous wooden objects like niddy-noddies, spindles and yarn bowls. There were also angora rabbits, but there was such a crowd (such as there was) that I couldn't get a clear picture of them. After I finished my lap there, I took a walk around outside, just in case I hadn't seen everything. All I found was a horse. I took a picture of it and went on back to the yarn booths to buy some yarn, satisfied that I'd seen all there was to see.

The lone skein of yarn I bought was 8 ounces of undyed alpaca in a rich, gorgeous chocolate color. The lady told me it would knit up to a worsted weight, but it looks a little more like a dk- or sport weight yarn. Once I get past my Christmas knitting, I'll swatch it and see how it does. I remembered to photograph it before I left, while there was still a little light. Sadly, I probably need to think a little more about how I photograph brown yarn, because it looks a little like a fresh, well, you know, but that's the picture I have tonight, so that's the picture that I have to post. Maybe my friends who are good at photography can give me some tips?

Anyway, that's all I have for tonight. Until next time, Friends!

Tuesday, October 16, 2012

Sometimes, the knitting is like magic.

Really. Sometimes I'm just mystified by the stuff I knit. Take these Scylla socks, for example. I am so amazed at how the heel flap on these toe-up socks looks just like the heel flap on most of the cuff-down socks I've ever made. See, on cuff-down socks, you knit the heel flap back and forth, then you pick up the selvedge stitches to make the gussets. For this sock, I increased along the sole and for the flap I did decreases every row, which produced the appearance of picked-up stitches. I'm sure it's a matter of how the decreases were stacked that made it look like a straight line rather than a slant, but I'm really impressed. I'm so glad there are people who have worked this out for me!

 Anyway, despite my amazement at my own work, I've managed to turn the heel on these socks and am in the home stretch on these socks. The knitting should move pretty quickly since the front and the back of the leg have the same stitch pattern. I hope to be binding off the cuff by this time next week.

As for the Christmas owls, I've completed three of them so far, but two of them need their eyes done. I seem to have found my groove on these guys. Of course now I'm worried that I'm going to run out of sock yarn leftovers before I run out of owls to make. It's taking about 15g of yarn for each owl and I have enough 15g leftovers for about 10 more owls. If I'm lucky, I will finish the FrankenScylla socks with enough yarn for one owl. I might even have enough of another color (in two balls) to get one more. That would get me 15 owls, which should be enough for my middle school-age and younger nieces and nephews. I'm not sure yet what we're going to do for the big kids. I'll have to ruminate on that for awhile. I'm not sure I'll have time to knit for them.

Well, that's all I have for tonight. See you next time, Friends.

Tuesday, October 9, 2012

Beginning to think about holiday knitting

October has barely begun, the trees are just starting to turn, and I'm realizing that there's something like 2-1/2 months until Christmas. And I'm panicking a little. You see, I had the ridiculous idea that it would be nice if I knit up some cute little owls as stocking stuffers for my nieces and nephews. I'm using the Big, Snowy Owl pattern from the Purl Bee, but I'm doing it in fingering-weight yarn. I don't think it will take too long to finish each owl, but however long it takes, I hope to finish 24 of them in time for Christmas.

I've also been making progress with the Scylla socks for my husband. This has been a nice, simple knit, perfect for my morning commute. I started the gussets this afternoon, so at this pace, I hope to finish these socks by the middle of next week or so. Once the yarn for my father-in-law's socks arrives, I'll get going on those.

The Columbines needlepoint is coming along nicely. I've finished all the foreground stitching and just have the miles of background stitches and the border stitching to do. There's no hurry on this project, so if I have to, I can set it aside. It's been a nice change of pace from all the knitting I've been doing, but I'm definitely a better knitter than I am a needlepointer. Maybe after Christmas I can focus on getting better at needlepoint?

Anyway, that's all I have for tonight. Until next time, Friends.

Friday, October 5, 2012

So, I started a pair of socks.

Like that's a surprise to anyone. After finishing my mother-in-law's Veil of Rosebuds, I was looking for another good commuting project. Since I didn't have the yarn to make Salted Caramels for my father-in-law, I decided to start some socks for my husband. He's been getting a lot of wear out of the Milo socks I made for him almost two years ago (!), so I thought it was high time he got another.

When we were looking through my stash for yarn for his dad's socks, he remarked that he liked the skein of Miss Babs' Windsor Sock yarn that I'd bought last year at Sock Summit. It's a good thing I bought that with him in mind! The colorway is called "Frankensock," which has a lot of lovely greens and blues and black. It's definitely a high-contrast hand-dyed yarn, so I was pretty careful about which pattern I was going to use with it.

After considering lots of patterns, I ended up deciding on Scylla by Fiona Lucas. It's a nice slipped-stitch pattern, with a little bit of texture thrown in to keep it interesting. It's knitting up pretty quickly, which will come in handy as it starts getting closer to Christmas and the panic knitting starts. The slipped stitches are a nice contrast to how the yarn is striping, and I love that I'm getting to do some toe-up socks for the first time in a long while. I'm hoping to finish them pretty quickly, so husbeast can wear them soon, and so I can get started on his dad's socks.

Well, Friends, that's all I have for tonight. Maybe next time I'll have an update on the Columbine needlepoint.

Monday, October 1, 2012

A good day for catching up.

It's been raining all day today, so I've been tidying up my craft room and organizing things. I did a big clean up a few weeks ago, so it wasn't too bad in there, but since I've finished the Veil of Rosebuds socks I wanted to get everything put away so I can decide what my next project will be. It needs to be something good for my commute, so probably a hat or some socks. I offered to make some socks for my father-in-law and so have been looking for the right pattern for him. I think I've decided on Salted Caramels for him because it's a nice, masculine pattern without too much patterning going on (for him) and enough patterning to be interesting (for me).

The only trouble is that I don't actually have any sock yarn that's appropriate for the project.

Hard to believe, isn't it?

Color? Gorgeous. Quantity? Good. Right for pattern? No.

With a tidy craft room, I went through my sock yarn stash and decided that none of it was right. All the pretty hand-dyed yarns were much too busy. The solids and semi-solids were not really his colors. And then, of the ones that were the right color, I didn't have enough to knit a pair of men's socks. Oh, well! I'll just have to buy more yarn!

Color? Nice, but not right for recipient. Quantity? Not even close.

 As it happens, I went looking for yarn today. I went to the three Local Yarn Shops here in Louisville, and didn't find anything I liked for these socks. One shop had some yarn I thought could work, but the yardage of the skeins was short. The second shop pretty much only had self-striping yarns, which were inappropriate for the pattern. And the third shop didn't have much sock yarn at all, and what they had was in colors I'd choose for myself, but not my father-in-law. I may end up ordering the yarn online.

On a happier note, I have indeed finished my mother-in-law's Veil of Rosebuds, and they have turned out beautifully! The Madelintosh Sock knit up so well and the colors change pretty subtly through both socks. It was a fast, easy knit, taking roughly two weeks. The lace patterning was easy to memorize, so I didn't have to think too hard on my early-morning bus rides to work.

I'm also making progress on my Columbines needlepoint. I've completed the flowers and have begun the leaves and stems. Once I get through that, I'll be able to stitch up the background and the border. The silk/merino blend yarn I'm using is giving lovely definition to the stitches and just a hint of shine. I haven't decided yet if I'll do the background in the little plain stitches or if I'll do a novelty stitch of some sort. I may head back to the shop for some advice. They're pretty nice there.

Well, that's all I have for this rainy afternoon. Until next time, Friends!