April 20, 2010

Precious Yarns

I'm intimidated by special yarns. Obviously I love nice yarn and I've been known to keep a particularly beautiful skein on my desk where I can gaze upon and and maybe pet it a little when no one is looking, but I'm a little afraid to actually knit with it. First I obsess over finding the perfect pattern, one that some all mighty knitty being on high has ordained as worthy of such a lovely yarn. Then, and sticking with the Biblical theme, I dither over whether I am worthy of such a nice yarn. I'm not really that good a knitter, I can't make anything really impressive, maybe I should just wait until I can do a better job, a job worthy of such beautiful yarn.

This mindset goes a long way to explain my burgeoning stash of Malabrigo sock yarn. So soft, and such beautiful colors, but who am I to cast on with such magnificent fibers. I realize, however, that not knitting with a yarn because it's too nice is akin to not wearing a handknit because you're afraid of messing it up, and every knitter knows there's nothing more annoying that pouring countless hours and energy into a project, only to have the recipient not actually use it. I knit those socks for you to wear, so shut up and wear the damn socks already. Yarn is spun to be knit, so shut up and cast on. Remember you can always buy more.

Retro Rib Socks
Retro Rib Socks by Evelyn Clark in Malabrigo Sock, colorway Tiziano Red

April 11, 2010

FO: Socktober Socks!

Socktober Socks!

These socks. Oh, these socks. I started them on October 1st as part of Socktoberfest and, well, I didn't really finish them on time. Partly it was the knitting void of 2009 (I finished one project from September 2009 to February 2010) and partly, this pattern just kicked my ass. There was nothing wrong with the pattern, the instructions are well written and Kirsten Kapur even provided charts. I just had some sort of mental block and could. not. memorize the pattern. Try as I might, I couldn't read my knitting on this project and for the first sock and a half, I was tied to a chart. Finally, halfway through the second sock, I spent a good half hour staring at the charts until I finally started to figure out how the sock was constructed, at which point, the remainder of the knitting went much quicker. A little too quick, actually. These were my sole knitting project for my weekend trip to the Nonsan Strawberry Festival this weekend and I finished them Saturday evening, leaving me with nothing to knit on the train back to Seoul. Can't win for losing with this project, I guess.

Socktober Socks!

The Specs
Rav Link: Socktober Socks!
Pattern: Mystery Sock '09 by Kirsten Kapur at Through the Loops
Yarn: Knit Picks Essential Kettle Dyed in Bordeaux (1½ skeins; 346 yards)
Needles: 2.5 mm (US 1½)
Size: medium
Notes: For all the grief these socks gave me, I decided I loved them the second I finished them. They were suppose to be a gift for my sister, but I've decided I'm keeping them for myself.

March 21, 2010

FO: Airplane Socks

Airplane Socks

According to Rav, I cast on for these socks on February 8th, but I only knit the cuff before the Ravelympics started and I was otherwise occupied. I didn't start to knit on these in earnest until February 27th. The first sock was largely knit on my plane to Korea (luckily the Seattle airport has Wifi and I was able to look up directions for turning a heel, or it would have been a disappointing flight) and the second sock gets the distinction of being the second sock I've knit in the Seoul immigration office.

The Specs
Rav Link: Airplane Socks
Pattern: basic sock recipe, loosely based on the sock tutorial at Silver's Place
Yarn: Lana Grossa Meilenweit 100g Uni/Solid in the romantic colorway 8501 (1 skein; 458 yards)
Needles: 2.5 mm (US 1½)
Size: CO 68 stitches, which was just a touch tight at the top and fit perfectly everywhere else
Notes: I'm pretty meh about the yarn. I like the colors in the skein, but wasn't nearly as big a fan of how it knit up. Also, I'm a yarn snob and after using primarily merino sock yarns, I was less than thrilled to be knitting with a regular wool/cotton blend. Still, the project accomplished its goal of being mindless knitting and now I'm ready for something a bit more complicated.

March 2, 2010

Socks on a Plane!

Airplane Socks
What you can accomplish during twenty hours on a plane (besides go crazy).

I spent some bastardized combination of Saturday/Sunday (fourteen hour time changes are confusing) on a plane. Turns out, I can knit a whole lot of sock during that time.

March 1, 2010

2010 Stash Down

I moved to South Korea this weekend, which was pretty much a non-event, since I've already spent one year here, was always planning on coming back for a second and was only home for a few months between contracts. I started packing with my yarn and spent an enjoyable afternoon going through my pretty pretty yarn and deciding which of my preciouses I couldn't bare to be parted from for a year. As I surveyed the results, I realized that when your hobby takes up a quarter of your luggage for a year long trip abroad, you might just have a stash problem.

Stashin' It
It is not physically possible for me to knit all that in a year.

Then I arrive in Korea and started to unpack in my shoebox of an apartment, and I realize that I don't know where I'm going to stash my stash. I currently have the Noro shoved into the shelves in the bedside table; the alpaca, Malabrigo and sock yarn are taking over the cupboard by the door that I think is suppose to be for shoes; and for lack of a better place, the cotton is stashed in the shelves above my sink in the kitchen. There are ten random skeins sitting on my couch because I haven't figure out where I'm going to be them (maybe I'll just turn the entire shelve over the sink into a yarn shelve?) and I still need to retrieve the huge bag of yarn I left with a friend when I went home in September.

My stash is out of control!

Over at the cold sheeping threads in the Stash Knit Down group on Ravelry, there's lots of talk about a yarn bank. If you knit a certain number of skeins, you allowed to buy more yarn. I think it's time for me to institute a yarn bank. For the next twelve months, I must knit five skeins of stash yarn for every one skein I buy. No exceptions, not even for sock yarn. I've added a yarn bank box to my sidebar to help me keep track of how much yarn I've used and to keep me honest. Maybe the next time I fly back to America, I'll have room for something besides yarn in my bags.

February 24, 2010

FO: Calorimetry

2010 Hat Half-Pipe Tuesday afternoon, right in the middle of the Ravelympics with one project left to knit, my mom asked if I would make her earwarmers. I about fell over from the shock. See, my family doesn't really do hand knits. For a long time, the only thing I could get a relative to accept was dishcloths. Everyone seemed to loooove hand knit dishcloths, which is what ushered in The Summer of the Dishclothes. It got a little bit better once I started knitting socks - everyone (except my sister, the girl who wore flip flops in the snow*) wears socks! - but it's still pretty exciting to have someone *ask* for a knitted object.

I immediately abandoned plans of casting on for my Bloody Stupid Hat and started searching for earwarmer patterns. Mom requested something with a bit of shaping at the ears, which ruled out most of the patterns I found, but we eventually settled on Calorimetry from Knitty. It was a super fast pattern; I cast on Tuesday night, barely touched it on Wednesday (also known as the day my visa application ate) and bound off on Thursday evening. The most difficult part was getting someone to stand outside and pose for FO pictures. Next time, I know to not hand over the knitted goods until I get my pictures. *g*

The one thing I didn't like about this project was the yarn. My one requirement for the project was that Mom choose yarn from my stash, and I've used this yarn - Jo Sharp Silkroad DK Tweed - before without a problem, but I thought the stitch definition was terrible on the Calorimetry. It's all 2x2 ribbing, something I could do in my sleep, but the ribs all look uneven. It looks fine from a distance and will keep Mom's ears warm, but I don't know if I could make something for me out of it. I would notice the problem every time I looked at the object and it would drive me crazy.

The Specs
Rav Link: Mom's Calorimetry
Pattern: Calorimetry from Knitty's Winter 06 edition
Yarn: Jo Sharp Silkroad DK Tweed in Boheme (1 skein; 147 yards)
Needles: 4.0 mm (US 6)
Size: about 5 inches across at the widest point
Notes: I thought there were too many "button holes" and when I make this pattern again, I'll probably add some short rows with wraps after the first few turns to close up the holes.

*I can't rag on her too much - I did the same thing multiple times this winter. They're just so easy to slide into!

February 17, 2010

FO: Blue Tweed Reading Mitts

2010 Mittens Moguls I've finished my first Ravelympics project! I competed in the 2008 Ravelympics with a single project and didn't even come close to finishing, so I'm thrilled that I've finished at least one project this time. I cast on for the Susie's Reading Mitts, my entry for the Mittens Moguls, during the opening strains of the Opening Ceremony and cast off while watching the Men's Snowboard Cross last night. I finished all the weaving in of ends and other finishing details in the early hours of February 16th, and bribed my little sister into acting as a hand model that morning.

I love, love, love the project! Like I said earlier, I had a few bad moments in the first glove, but the second glove went off without a hitch. I don't know if it's because I've spent so much time this week parked in front of the TV watching the Olympics or because I've knit primarily with fingering weight yarn, but this project flew off the needles. I am especially enamored with the clever turned under tops and bottoms. I think that little detail make the project.

Blue Tweed Reading Mitts

The Specs
Rav Link: Blue Tweed Reading Mitts
Pattern: Susie's Reading Mitts by Janelle Masters
Yarn: Queenland Collection Rustic Tweed in 913 (1 skein; 278 yards)
Needles: 3.5 mm (US 4)
Size: medium; I originally cast on for the large, since my hands are wide, but they were much to big. The mediums are a touch snug and ideally I would have gone up a couple of stitches, but I didn't know and wouldn't have wanted to rework the pattern anyways.
Helpful Hint: Leave a long enough tail to stitch in the turned under hem.

Blue Tweed Reading Mitts