Knitting In Advance

Last summer, I test and sample knit a sock for The Unique Sheep‘s Lord of the Strings club. Frequently, my test / sock knitting projects are done under a rather tight deadline (most recent record holder? A sock for Cookie A’s new book in 5 days!) – but this project was for the June 2010 installment. And, since now we are in July of 2010, I can finally share!

Dunedain Socks by LoBug
Dunedain Sock
This was my first time to knit such a large sock (on purpose!) – I knit the largest size, and two yarns are held together. Isn’t that cable something? I worked really hard on that – learned a lot about cables and reading charts. Side note: If it wasn’t for this project with the charts and cables and working my way through it with LoBug’s help, I would not have tried to get the cookieA sock gig – something totally clicked with me on this project!

The color is best in the first picture (or even the ravelry link) – the yarns were very pretty.
Dunedain Sock
As I knit the largest size (Size 11, the “Big Foot” option), obviously the socks didn’t fit too well on my foot (I wear a US9, women’s) or my sock blockers:
Dunedain Sock
Dunedain Sock
Check out LoBug‘s blog – she talks about this sock and her “LOTR Sock Pattern Booklet”!

Trust me, it’s a sock.

This weekend was spent celebrating a “Housewarmthday” party for my brother & sister-in-law – they have a new house and big birthdays – and hosted a fantastic party. I was gifted a rare treat of time to myself – the Lorax stayed behind for quality time with Dad – and I got to relax, eat, drink and be merry without chasing down a toddler. The weather outside was gorgeous! I brought my knitting along and was able to get in some knitting – I think I gave several comedians there some new material by my knitting in public, but whatever. It’s what I enjoy and luckily for me my brother and sister-in-law have no problem with me whipping out the needles in their backyard.

I am currently test knitting a sock for JL Yarnworks
Test Knit
Looking at it this way makes me think it’s a doll or something – I promise, in the next day or so, you’ll see it in it’s sock-y cuteness. I’m working up the toddler size and it is going to be really cute.

I did get gauge (10 stitches / inch on US0!) and I’m using Malabrigo Sock Yarn in the colorway “cote d’azure” – it’s a great dark ink blue. I have fingers crossed that I can get the Lorax to wear the sock with a really cute navy / white dress she has yet to wear. Anyway, love the color, but I do need to be sure that I have really good light to see those stitches!

Pretty Stitches
There is half of the heel flap – I don’t know if it has a particular name, but it involves a four row repeat and I love the texture it creates in the fabric.

I also brought another project to work on at the party, being prepared for assorted levels of light, conversation, alcohol intake (no toddler for me to watch over!) but wouldn’t you know it? I only worked on the sock – the other project (red yarn, DK weight, on US7 needles) I messed up on multiple times – the stitch count, the increases, the cast on. I actually took scissors to it and had a do-over. On the whole, not bad for knitting in public.

Non Easter Sweater

I’m working on Caitlin’s Cardi, a test knit – and was making great progress. I thought for sure I would have a new sweater to wear on Easter (this coming weekend).

Sweater progress
The body is done. Yay!

Sleeve #1
Sleeve #1 was going fine. Except.

Sleeve Errors
I should have purled instead of knit when picking up those stitches, I have a ridge there. I figured I would live with it and position it so it would be on the back side of my sweater and I’ll never see it. Mmm. Ok. Knit on.

Sleeve Errors
I have now made mistakes in the rib pattern from the decreases. The pattern for the sweater is great. These goofs are all human. And I’m so annoyed. And sad. I was happily knitting along last night and before turning off the tv I took a look at my work and just let out a huge gasp that startled the dog and the husband. I’m considering ripping it all back (to fix both the rib mistakes and that pick up row) or just ripping back the rib mistakes (more likely). I’m bummed, but I’ll figure it out, I really want to wear this sweater!

That Doesn’t Look Right (Until the End)

A recent test knit has been completed, yay! I worked on Icing by Samantha Roshak. I used Cherry Tree Suri Lace Alpaca, colorway is unknown as I have long lost the band. But it’s pretty and totally my colors, blues-purples-grey. Aside from my bat shawl, this is the first project for which I have actually used lace weight yarn! I like the effect of lace in a slightly heavier weight yarn (more like a sock weight) and I think this would be a great project for a special skein of sock yarn as well. I used roughly half a skein, and in the end it measures about 12″ x 60″ (more on that in a bit).

I will say I have had a lot of trouble figuring out how to get a good photo of this particular object. I took a bunch and am going to run with them and if the inspiration fairy strikes later I’ll revise my photos. So for now, I’ll deal with a lot of “That Doesn’t Look Right”.

For instance, Jackson as a model, though the photo does show the fuzz factor of the yarn, pre-soak / block.
I am a tolerant model.

Also pre-block, the scarf was about 3 dachshunds long.
Roughly 3 dachshunds long

I was surprised to find after soaking the scarf, that the water was blue! I had no indication that would happen – no dye came off on my hand while knitting, and nothing was on the towels after blocking, so really no big deal, but it makes you stop for a moment and go, huh?
After a soak

This project has me seriously considering blocking wires (or a trip to the hardware store for a DIY version) – I had to block this in sections, and it was a pain annoying. Luckily, lace dries pretty quick. I used my metal knitting needles to help block it out – a tip I learned from Samantha back when I knit a little something last summer. For this type of project, it’s not ideal, but it does get the job done. And when I’m wearing it around my neck, no one will really notice (unless my blog readers see me wearing it, please don’t mention the blocking to me) 🙂
When I see this picture I think “Knitting. UR doin it wrong.”

Now that it’s all unpinned it’s deliciously soft and airy and will be a great late winter into spring scarf, I love it. I do worry about catching one of the lace holes on anything, but that’s my clumsy nature. I will try to be careful.
Holes in my work
Holes in my work, must be lace!

Trying to be fancy
I’m just trying to be fancy here. I think the chandelier in my dining room has potential.

On a person, wrapped roughly twice around my neck and there is still length for tucking in or whatnot.

In other knitting related events, I’ve managed to kill another sock. Lorelai has enjoyed looking at my heel poking through –
Dead sock
This is the first time I have busted through a heel. In fairness to the sock it was a different construction (this is bartholomew’s sock from the Cat Bordhi sock book) and I think that may have contributed to some wear and tear. Since I’ve killed 3 pairs of socks in the last year besides this, and all those socks went out at the balls of my feet, not the heel, I’m confident in that assumption. Makes me second guess making more socks in that style of construction.

I decided to sign up for the Ravelympics, ambitiously of course, because I don’t know how to do things like that any other way. My plan is “competition” in 4 events – Skelegurumi (have another baby toy to make), WIP Dancing (finish up my Seahorse) and 2 Sweaterboard Crosses. I am working on two shrugs for Romney Ridge Farm – one in a navy / blueberry – purple and one in a variegated cranberry-ish colorway (neither have labels, so I”m not 100% on the colors). This is my first time working with a DROPS pattern and I find it interesting that the pattern is only a paragraph! Not a problem if you know how to knit, but it keeps me on my toes – double checking my work. Right now, both bodies are done – they need a slight block and then seaming and picking up stitches for the edging.
Shrugs in progress
Each piece looks like a funky chromosome to me.

Here’s half of my funky chromosomes – helping to cook some Annies for dinner.
Cooking dinner

Scowls, Cowls, and Sniffs

Like most people, my little nutshell is experiencing a bit of frenzy as the Christmas season is in full swing. The knitting is progressing nicely for the most part – I’m taking a few days off from a current sample / test knit because a deadline was lifted (thank goodness) and other projects took priority for a bit.

Like this:
IMG_9134 IMG_9139
Scowl by Samantha Roshak. Second time I’ve test knit for Sam – this was a great use of my sock yarn (Connecticut colorway, j.knits yarn) – I used up 80% of the skein I think, and I became really good at Judy’s Magic Cast On (if you haven’t tried it, it’s really neat, and not hard once you get the hang of it). This really is a great pattern – a bit different than most scarves / cowls I’ve knit. I liked the construction, in the end it’s reversible and is great for guys or gals, wrapped around your neck and secured or just tucked into a coat, warm but not too warm, superwashable. In the end, I have sent on this scowl to Alabama to my downstream pal in a “Plurk Cowl Swap”!

I received a cowl from my upstream pal in yesterday’s mail:
Lisa made this for me – the pattern is Tuesday Evening with Rowan Felted Tweed – it’s lovely!

Then there’s this:
TotTopper Sample Hat
Little Miss Muffet hat – I’ve signed on to be part of the sample / testing pool for Tot Toppers – this little hat is made with Frog Tree Alpaca Sport, in a periwinkle blue with a chocolate brown ribbon. Who can resist that? As a fellow knitter would say, Stinkin’ Cute! The whole line is adorable – I would suggest the Tot Toppers line to any knitter looking for a new hat – the patterns are well written and the end result is so nice! Ignore the fact that I’m modeling a baby hat on top of wine bottles. This is the 3-6 month size and Lorelai’s head is way too big now.

And this:
Baby pants
Malabrigo Twisty Trousers – knit on commission 🙂 I’m currently working on a hat to complete the set, should be done in the next day or so. The Mom is ready to pop and is in mad nesting mose (her words, not mine) so I am very happy that this is done before her baby arrives – this was so much fun to knit. Plus, Malabrigo. ’nuff said.

Perfect gift for a two year old? PlayDoh. I had been wondering about this for Lorelai for ages now and for her birthday she received multiple PlayDoh packs and two different accessory sets – a barnyard pals and a burger maker. I had found several “homemade” play dough recipes I kept meaning to try, but we just didn’t get around to it. Well, no need now! We had a snowy-slushy-cold-crappy day this week and we pulled it out and she had at it. And has asked to play with it multiple times a day. And she will play with it for 20 minutes or more at a time! Excellent. Of course, it’s on her terms – we do a little bit with the molds but she has more fun squooshing the playdoh in to one part and moving it back into the yellow container with a chopstick. Whatever, it’s all good for her development. And good for my cleaning knitting time.
Thank you Uncle Dan, Aunt Virginia, and Uncle Matt! And her buddy, A, who also got her a playdoh set!

Time to Decorate

I was waiting on pulling out the Halloween decorations – today seems like a good day to tackle that. We’ve been given decorations to add to our own stuff this year and they are just sitting on the table. And I made a new little decoration, this little bat:
Bat Cave
He’s in a bat cave! No not really, that is a wine holder made out of rock – my brother gave that to us for a wedding present. Great for wine (it will naturally chill the wine if you have it outside) and also great for bats, thank you Matt 🙂

Test Knit - Bat
Actually this was a super quick test knit project – Little Bat Ornament by FickleKnitter on Ravelry – I used leftover sock yarn (Lenore appropriately) and it could be done in less than a day. Also could be a great finger puppet if you only seam and do not stuff. The pattern is free for the month of October, so go make one or a bunch and you’ll have a colony!

Lorelai has her costume, so that’s good. Jackson does too actually – he won a ladybug costume, but today I’m playing a bit and made him a chef hat.
My dog is such a good sport!
My dog is such a good sport!
Good thing he doesn’t hold a grudge.

Two Sweaters

Since TNNA finished this weekend I can post about one of my recent knits for Lorna’s Laces. They sent me some beautiful Fisherman Wool in “Unnamed Grey Colorway” (really, that’s what it said on the ball band! It was grey-blue-purple, quite nice!) and asked me to knit Dulce De Leche from the Spring 2009 Twist Collective.
I was a bit apprehensive at first – for the yarn companies I do prefer to knit child size stuff as they are quicker to turn out and the pattern has a lot of “at the same time…” so I was very careful about my notes. I even emailed the designer, Marnie, at one point and she was great! I am quite proud of this knit – it shows the yarn nicely, was a warm sweater – it was a little big on me in the chest area, but the rest of the shaping fit me well.

Over the weekend I was able to block out “A Little Something”. I think maybe I should block out the front ribbing a bit more, but on the whole I am pleased with this – it took 2 skeins of yarn! Maybe a bit more (I started from a leftover ball, went through 1 ball and part of a 2nd ball)… gotta love that! It’s knit small on larger needles and then you really really block it out.
A Little Something
(So pleased that my posture is in check for those photos!)

I’ve picked up the Necco Wafer hoodie for Lorelai, hoping to get that done in the next week or so. I’ve started the pile-able pups pattern. I’ve pulled out yarn for two Ysolda patterns… always looking at the next project!

SOLI – socks and water

In the last PhatFiber box I got a sample from Cupcake Factory. I found the group on Ravelry, and there was a request for test knitting a sock. This is the back story:
(Quoting Carissa)
“One of my friends, Ashley, is the founder and CEO of a non-profit: Streams of Life International…SOLI for short. SOLI brings hope to communities in Africa by partnering with community leaders to build wells and sanitation facilities, refurbish local hospitals and provide essential medical equipment, supplies and health education.

When she announced she was campaigning to raise the funds to put wells in 1000 communities in Africa this year, I wanted to get on board. Unfortunately I don’t have tons of cash. But what I do have is time and a specific skill set. I was trying to figure out how to use the resources I do have available to me to help….

So I’m cooking up some knitterly things, with proceeds going to SOLI. The first (of hopefully many) things I’ve been working on is a sock yarn line called “SOLI sock.” It’s a luxurious merino / silk blend. I chose it because the sheen the silk give to the yarn reminds me of a shimmering stream. The SOLI sock colourways are all aqua-inspired shades of blues and teals. I’ve also got a sock pattern that I’m cooking up using SOLI sock, where 100% of the proceeds will go to SOLI.”

Awesome, right? I’m test knitting the sock and I really like it so far. I’m using NeighborhoodFiberCo yarn, Watershed line, in Thomas Circle colorway. Seemed appropriate (I like matching up yarn with good names to projects – my Monkey socks were done in the “rainforest” colorway!).
Sock in progress - stretched
That’s the cuff and one lace repeat down, two more to go on the leg. The stitch marker is a wee little Woodstock I got as part of my “Woodstock” sock kit from last fall. I think it’s made by weeones on etsy.

I wanted to include the Indigo Girls cover of “River”, but can’t find that video on youtube. Instead I’ll leave you with another favorite cover – Dave Matthews cover of Lyle Lovett’s “If I Had a Boat” –

I’m going to see the Indigo Girls in Hartford this April – third time is the charm! Can’t wait!