Tuesday, April 22, 2008

Socks and Monkeys

Monkeys first.

My drive home from work today was awesome. Traffic was great, but even better than that, I had entertainment for several miles of it. I'm one of those weird drivers that will follow a slower larger vehicle at a nice distance just so they don't have an as$ tailgating them.

So I was following this school bus. No big deal, it's far past the hour of the day when there would actually be kids riding the bus home from school. But there WERE kids on this bus. How do I know this? Because even through the tinted bus windows I could see them waving at me. And they were determined to get me to wave back.

But I remained stoic. Oh okay, I did smile a bit, and I certainly laughed at them a few times, but I was just as determined not to wave, it was too fun watching them try to make me wave. I relented when it became obvious that they weren't taking the same exit I was taking, so I rolled down my window and waved as I rode by them on the ramp. They loved it. I laughed all the way home.

Onto the socks!

I'm re-working my "sea and sand" socks. Again. For the fourth time. But this time it might stick! I'm using a sock recipe from the May '08 issue of Creative Knitting, an issue my sister gave me. And with excellent timing, I started using that pattern within hours of the gifting. I am liking it very much.

Chief differences are:
  • DPN's instead of magic loop
  • cuff-to-toe instead of toe-up
  • size 2 instead of 0 needles
  • short cuff instead of calf-high (of course, that was just a concept on the toe-ups since I never even turned the heels!)

All of these things combined are making me very happy with this yarn again. That, and I tried it on last night for new pictures and wow... now I'm hooked, I must have a pair, and more pairs, I need many many more handknit socks!! =D

04202008_ribbed anklet #1 3-1rav

Okay, it's off to be healthy and run or something.

Sunday, April 13, 2008

Knitting Software

Yes, you read correctly, I'm looking into knitting software. There's a really neat graphing program offered by www.KnitFoundry.com called Knit Visualizer. I downloaded the demo and am trying it out to see how I like it. My "simple" attempt at graphing is the diamond brocade pattern I decided to use on my "brown socks" (now my "brown purl-brocade socks").

Diamond Brocade Graph

Between the two dark horizontal bars is stitch pattern #28 from the Vogue Knitting Stitchionary #1, Knit & Purl. I've been looking through my stitchionaries and patters for a simple pattern repeat that I could use on my brown socks to add some visual (and knitterly) interest to the top of the feet without detracting from the color, which is my main attraction to this yarn along with the soft feel.
I decided this one would do well. It's a 12 + 5 stitch repeat, so I have enough stitches on my 35 stitch top for two repeats.

Back to the software. I came across this Knit Visualizer software by doing a search on the Ravelry groups for one on cables, celtic cables, braids, etc. The sticker price of the program...is a bit prohibitive. I added the windows version on CD to my TheThingsIWant wish list but.... I get the feeling that I'll be buying it for myself eventually, I doubt anyone else would want to spend that much money on me for a single item for no special occassion.

So far I like it, I would like it more if I had a desk set up for my computer where I could hook my mouse up but I'm okay with it just on my touchpad.

I've been trying all last week and the majority of this weekend to reverse-engineer the main celtic cable from the St. Brigid sweater. I LOVE that cable pattern. But I have almost zero chance of getting my hands on the Aran Knits book by Alice Starmore.

From what I've read she seems to be a bit of a snob about her patterns. She must know that the knitting world WILL substitute other yarns instead of her proprietary expensive collection, so she will not republish the pattern books. She's not even including a copy of the pattern with the yarn kit, just says on the website that you must have a copy of the book in order to make the sweater. Well I guess there will always be other snobs out there that will pay the outrageous amounts she asking for her scratchy yarn and out-of-print book. I am not one of them. Hence my attempt to reverse-engineer the cable pattern.

I think I'm close, but, I've never charted an unknown cable pattern before. I have no experience to draw on to tell me that when you decrease from 5 stitches down to 1 how you mark that down and when the "no stitch" section should come to an end. I'm stuck at the top and bottom points of the swirl.

St Brigid Celtic Swirl Cable chart2

So... if anyone can help me finish mapping out this cable chart, help would be appreciated!

Sunday, April 6, 2008

Yarn Harlot Ho!

That is to say... onward towards the Yarn Harlot's speech and book signing! I'm sitting up at 10:15 wondering, what should I wear tomorrow? Sadly, the only things that I've knitted and are wearable at the moment are a "Jesse's Flames" sweater I made that ended up fitting me instead of my ex-boyfriend (not the best look for me) and one slipper sock that is waiting for its mate to be knit up. Maybe I'll just wear my work clothes and bring some small knitting projects.

Of course, with most of my clothes being freshly washed this weekend, the choices of store-bought clothing combinations is simply staggering. I own... well, a LOT of clothes. And somehow it's never enough. I'm thinking the brown and medium blue plaid pants with plain brown sweater and brown suede boots (with the really cool brown and cream wooly stripey socks that nobody will be able to see beneath the boots). Or maybe go with the indigo jeans, burnt orange collared tee and olive sweater over top with the brown suede boots... Or maybe go for total comfort and wear my dark grey fleecy lounge pants with a light grey tee and medium grey sweater along with a pair of crocs. OR perhaps I'll be SO freaking excited that I'll forget to change out of my work clothes before I leave and I'll end up going to Borders dressed in "business casual". Hmm.

And why am I so worried about what to wear anyway? I should be spending this nervous energy on preparing my knitting bag. In fact, I think I'll go do that now. Good night everybody!

Saturday, April 5, 2008


I just got a brilliant idea!

I'm doing a pair of toe-up socks. I've noticed that most toe-up sock patterns don't make any effort to increase around the arch of your foot before the heel and leg, making it very snug for that couple of inches on your foot.

I came across a pattern for a toe-up sock that includes increases and a heel-flap, I like the increasing idea but I don't like heel flaps much. I've also been eyeing my expensive store-bought exercise socks with a "Y" short-row heel. This morning it came to me, this brilliant idea... I can increase along the gusset, do a Y short-row heel, decrease up to the ankle, move on up the leg as usual. HAHA!! I'm freaking brilliant!!

...ok, now that I've sucked up all of my leisure time for the day on ravelry, time to get that shopping done. ciao