Knittin' mittens for ma kittens!

Tuesday, February 28, 2006

All the difference in the world

Now that I've had a chance to gloat in the last post, let me sum up the changes I've made at the start of this second stocking. First off, controlling yarn dominance in fair isle is probably the most amazing thing I've ever seen. The difference between the stocking I had been working on (which now I think is so horrendously fugly and amateur that I doubt I'll ever post a picture of it) and the cuff motif/beginning of the leg motif on this second stocking just blows me away. Who knew that something as simple as changing which yarn goes over and which one goes under could make the object as a whole look so much better? My tension overall is vastly improved, my stitches look so much more even and--dare I say it--lovely.

The second change this time around--rather than go down a needle size, I simply cast on fewer stitches. On the first stocking, I cast on 112 and decreased to 108 by the leg motif, which by my gauge factored in about 1.5" of negative ease. I was really paranoid that since fair isle is known to be less stretchy, that the stocking would be too tight if I cast on less. Not so, my friends. This time, I decided to stick with the 2.75 mm dpns and cast on 100--then decreased to 98 for the cuff motif, and finally down to 96 by the leg motif. The result? FAR, FAR better fit. They are certainly tighter on the calf, but not so much as to stretch the motif or be uncomfortable. The slouchy look of the stocking is gone, and I think they look a lot better with less ease, as they now help to slenderize my beefy calves.

And can I say that though they were not originally what I had planned when envisioning these stockings, I am loving the colors?? I think they will be perfect for the springtime, when it's still just a bit cool and the skirts are coming back out of the closet. The motif colors remind me of flower petals, and I'm imagining prancing through the meadows in my stockings, kicking up my dainty heels--okay, enough of that.

So the lessons I've learned are that yarn dominance = FAIR ISLE MASTERY, and with sizing, sometimes less is more. I fear no knitting! And if I did, that would be a pretty sad thing to be afraid of...after all, it is but sticks and string! I am the maestro here.

Monday, February 27, 2006

Can I get a whoop whoop


Gentlemen and hos, it's time to get nasty.


My pimp gloves are back on.

Friday, February 24, 2006

A wordy entry that would be greatly enhanced by pictures

In an attempt to reconnect myself to the "process knitter" within, my knitting goal for the weekend is to cast on for another Norwegian stocking, though the first is done only to the bottom of the leg. It is unmistakebly a stocking, and a fair isle one at that, but I can already sense I won't be happy with the finished product if it continues as it has been...widely varied stitches as I've experimented with tension, sizing issues, and a problem with my fair isle technique only recognized today after reading two helpful blog posts.

This second stocking will be an experiment in sizing and an attempt to both correct my fair isle technique and improve my overall tension. I plan to use US size 1 (actually 2.25 mm Plymouth bamboo dpns) from the start, which I switched to on the first stocking when it became apparent that even after the calf decreases, the ankle was far too roomy. It's still roomy, and there is a little space at the top of the calf that I think can be reduced by going down a needle size, though hopefully the motif won't be stretched by the overall reduction in circumference. I plan to use my regular tension, without trying to overcompensate by knitting tighter or looser than usual. Once again I plan to go inside-out, which has helped enormously with keeping my floats loose, especially on the corners.

Here's a note to myself that might help a LOT with tension issues, and overall appearance of the motifs: be sure to pick the main color OVER the contrast color, and contrast color UNDER the main color--this will help the CC motif to pop and be more apparent.

I'll keep the first stocking around for now to compare my results with the second--but hopefully, should this little experiment be successful, this second stocking will be one of the completed pair. And I promise I'll take pictures.

Thursday, February 16, 2006

Knitting mojo vanishes into the night

I am taking off that stupid "On the Needles" box I have on my sidebar, because it's just too depressing to have to keep updating it when I have to frog another project. Seriously, I'm having some bad luck with knitting these days. First it was those stupid, stupid Friday Harbor socks. Now, I've somehow managed to knit my way through half a Jaywalker sock only to find that I'm getting 6-7 stitches to the inch ON SIZE 0 NEEDLES. I mean, what the hell is that? If anything I'm a slightly tight knitter, and the gauge for this yarn is supposed to be 8 stitches to the inch on US 1 or 2. So how in the hell am I coming up with such a huge gauge?? I tried on the Jaywalker, which I'd been knitting on my lunch breaks at work, only to find that it was loose as hell on the foot. My rage was complete. Could I have gotten some sort of mutant skein of thicker yarn?

Well, screw it. I want a cute pair of Jaywalkers with the picot edge I've seen around town. I have a couple skeins of Koigu in a very pretty purple/pink colorway, I think they'd make very feminine and pretty socks with that kind of edging. Hm...maybe I'll try the toe-up Jaywalker pattern this time around, since I don't know how long a cuff I can get out of a skein. I guess then I have to figure out how to do a picot edge in reverse!

On second thought, maybe I ought to stick to garter stitch scarves for a while.

Wednesday, February 15, 2006

Holy crap!!

I survived Jaywalking 2006

Not only did I survive....

I WON!!!

Thanks again to Cara for hosting an awesome KAL!

Monday, February 13, 2006

Forays into Fair Isle

I did some swatching for the Norwegian stockings this weekend, using the cream and peach Baby Ull. I'm expecting the purple and watermelon I ordered to arrive this week, so hopefully I'll have obtained a decent enough tension to begin the actual stockings by then. I'm still going to use the cream as the cuff motif, and I guess I'll keep the peach for another project. (I admit I am a little bit anti-stash...I tend to get nervous when I overpurchase yarn for a project and immediately start thinking of ways to justify overspending. I think I can get over that little hang-up eventually. :D )

Fair Isle swatch

This is the beginning of the grew by several inches over the weekend, but it got so overcast that getting a decent picture of its progress was impossible. We even had some snow this morning, it was so pretty...cold, but pretty. Yes, snow is a big deal in Atlanta! Anyway, I'm (heh heh) fairly pleased with my progress, I think overall my tension is decent. There are trouble hotspots that I'm working on--namely the vertical stripes, which as you can see are puckered from not having a long enough float, and the same issue on the two corners. I'm using size 2 Addis for this, Magic Loop-style. I started out using 2.75 mm dpns, and tried the inside-out Fair Isle method. That helps a lot with keeping the floats loose, but I was getting 9 stitches to the inch instead of 8, so I moved up to the 3.0 mm Addis. I'm wondering if I can do the inside-out method with Magic might be worth a shot. Otherwise, I'm stopping to stretch the fabric after each trouble hotspot, which seems to help keep it loose. Holding the two yarns in my left hand is going pretty well for me, too. Even attempting to hold one of the yarns in my right hand felt like a crime against nature. I doubt I'll ever learn to knit English style, but that's fine with me as long as I can manage Continental with more than one color decently.

Hey, Secret Pal! Look what a great use your plate has found...

Secret Pal plate w/ yarn

A lovely Fair Isle platter!

Friday, February 10, 2006


My Lovely Jaywalkers

I promised pictures, and pictures I provide! There are my completed Jaywalkers, in Lorna's Laces Shepherd Sock, colorway Watercolor. (More pictures on my Flickr, if you're interested.)

I. Love. Them.

I think this is my favorite FO of my entire (admittedly short) knitting career. I love everything about them, from the yarn to the pattern to the fit. Absolutely perfect. I will be making many, many more Jaywalkers--in fact, I think it might just become my default sock pattern. Even if the popularity of some other designs sometimes eludes me, I can completely understand why this pattern is so popular. It's easy, fun, and the results are spectacular.

In other sock news, I did a little swatching for my Norwegian Stockings last night, and I think my choice of fair isle colors needs reevaluating. While the silver and peach are in and of themselves lovely colors, when they are together, the motif gets lost. I think it has something to do with the "value" of the colors, but I've never had a good grasp on color theory, so I'll just say that "they're both too light." The solution, of course, was to buy more yarn. (I use this solution for many problems I encounter in life.) So I went ahead and ordered two balls of darker, richer colors--of course, I was torn between purple and watermelon, so I went ahead and ordered both. I'll continue to do some swatching with the colors I have, in order to get my gauge and work on tension, and make the final color choices when my new order arrives. I've been ordering from, which has a great selection and very good service--I'd definitely recommend them.

I also went ahead and joined the Norwegian KAL, so do check out the cute new button to see lots of other lovely FOs and WIPs. I feel like I'm having my own personal Knit Olympics with this project, but without the 16-day time frame. And 3,999 other people. Just little old me and my yarn--that's how I like it!

Tuesday, February 07, 2006

It's like Christmas in February!!

...makes sense, since it's colder now than it was in December, anyway.

MY MELLOW SECRET PAL SENT ME THE BEST PACKAGE EVER. I can't believe all the amazing goodies she stuffed in there for me--all for me! The thought and care that obviously went into it makes even this battle-hardened badass choke up a little. I mean, look at it all!

Secret Pal Loot

FOLK SOCKS! What perfect timing! All I need now is my Baby Ull, a new set of double-points, and I will be in Norwegian Stocking heaven! (I hope it's heaven, anyway, since I just extricated myself from Friday Harbor hell.)

And would you believe she knit me a pair of socks?? I mean, how awesome is that??

Socks from my Mellow SP!

Yes, I truly have the most awesome Secret Pal in the history of mankind. I am in awe of her generosity and good taste. ;) Thank you so much, my Canadian friend!

Friday, February 03, 2006

But where are the PICTURES??

I've been a bad blogger--not a single post since my last Jaywalker update, despite the fact that I've finished the pair and even cast on for another! Oh, I have pictures taken, I just haven't had the chance to upload them. See, now that I'm at my new job, I don't feel I can spend as much time goofing around on the internet ("but what are you doing now, hmm?") and since I don't have an internet connection at home, blogging was usually done at my old job where it didn't matter as much if I wasn't busy, you know, WORKING. But I am hoping to get my laptop somewhere with a free wireless connection, so I can upload the images of the finished socks, as well as my other WIPs.

I have to admit to my Knittyboard secret pal that I did buy myself something yesterday, but I doubt it's something she'd have gotten or planned to send me. (Don't be mad at me Jen! I couldn't help myself ;) ) I've been dreaming of the Norwegian Socks from Nancy Bush's Folk Socks, and decided to go ahead and order the yarn for them. (The book will have to come later.) I ordered Dale Baby Ull in silver for the main stocking color, peach for the central motif, and cream for the motif on the cuff. I love pink and gray together, and I think these stockings would be so cute to wear with my pink coat and a nice gray skirt! I only ordered two balls of silver, and one each of peach and cream, since Eunny's blog has a good description of the yarn requirements for the project. Sometimes having short legs isn't so bad--saves me money on yarn! Anyway, I'm looking forward to getting the yarn and, eventually, the book...I've been eager to try a more elaborate fair isle pattern, and I think this will be the perfect project to practice on.

Onto current projects, I cast on for a new pair of Jaywalkers with a skein of Socks that Rock I had in the stash. The colorway is Carbon Dating, I had been a bit disappointed when I got it in the mail because it definitely didn't look the way it does on the site--I was expecting more gray and pink tones, but it has a lot more dark blue, black and burgundy, with a little yellow thrown in. But now that I'm using it for the Jaywalkers, I'm liking how it looks knit up, and the yarn itself is great to work with. I'm definitely eyeballing other colorways, especially Rolling Stone and Watermelon Tourmaline...I might order them from The Fold eventually.

I've been struggling with the cuff of the Friday Harbor Socks for a few days now. I started out using dpns, but all of the counting and rearranging stitches to get the pattern to line up was so frustrating that I cast on and frogged at least three times. Last night I cast on with 32" 3.25 mm addis (Magic Loop method) and managed to make it through the entire cuff chart with only a couple of minor errors. I still needed to do some rearranging of the pattern to make sure it lined up, and I completely disregarded the chart and instructions, instead just eyeballing the pattern to make sure I was getting it right. But I've made it through the cuff and should be able to start the leg tonight.

I really, really need to focus on finishing Veste Everest--I think I'll force myself to work on it a little each day, so that it actually gets done in time to wear it before it starts getting warmer.

So there's your update! I'll work on getting pictures up as soon as I can. I leave you with a movie recommendation, which is Michael Haneke's newest film, Cache. Excellent, excellent film--the tension is out of this world, and it definitely leaves you guessing at the end. There's so much about this movie to discuss and think about afterwards, I think I'll be seeing it again this weekend. It gets this film snob's highest recommendation! I suggest leaving the knitting at home, definitely want to give all your attention to this film, especially the very last scene. Just a tip. ;)