Archive for the ‘FO’ Category

Folded

Monday, September 12th, 2011

Look! I’m back for a second post in less than a week. This time, I’ve got a knitted FO to show off. There are actually many FOs in the can waiting to be shown off, this is just the most recent. I spent most of my summer dawdling along on a single sweater. There were some socks here and there, and a bunch of spinning-related work, but this was my main project of the summer. But let’s start at the beginning.

Back in January, I spotted Folded in my Friends stream on Ravelry and loved it. I have several t-shirts in my closet with gathering at the neckline similar to the style of this sweater, and find them flattering for my small-chested, poochy-belly body type (okay, much less poochy now than it used to be, but I’m still haunted by the memories and there is still plenty of pooch left to hide. I know. Body issues. Forgive me.) But anyway, I have a pretty good feeling that this sweater would be a nice addition to my wardrobe. I also liked the idea of a finer-gauge sweater that I might be more comfortable wearing more often than just the very cold winter days. Here’s a picture, just to keep you interested…

Back this spring, I was kind of at a low point in fiber-related inspiration. I was busy thinking about all that good life stuff that I mentioned in the last post. I needed an easy knit that I could carry along and stitch away at without much thought, and this was perfect for that. I dug through my stash and found a bag of Classic Elite Yarns Summer Sox. I’d gotten it on sale from Webs, thinking I might use it for a light weight sweater and sure that I could add the leftovers to another project that is in the works, which I will share with you at some date in the near future (hopefully!) To be perfectly honest, I actually have another bag of the same yarn in another colorway still untouched, and I’m kind of wondering what the heck I was thinking when I bought it. Another sweater? We’ll see.

I’m not sure exactly when I cast on for this thing. Some time in the early spring. My yarn and gauge were entirely different than the ones suggested in the pattern, but I’ve never let that stop me in the past. The shape is there, I just recalculated the numbers and cranked away. It came with me to many soccer games and practices – the sleeves were knit separately to the underarms, so that was convenient. Then, eventually, suddenly – it was done!

I did modify the neckline just a bit. The pattern is written in stockinettte right up to the bind-off, and I tried that but it rolled on me in a way that I did not like, so I ripped out the bind-off and reformed some stitches to make 2X2 ribbing to match the sleeve cuffs and hemline. I chose to re-form the stitches by dropping down and crochet-hooking them back up because there is short-row shaping right up to the last couple rows in the back, and I really did not want to have to do all that knitting back and forth business a second time. You’ll have to trust me it was easier this way.

I have to say I’m pretty happy with the finished sweater. The neckline is a little on the wide side, so I will have to think about whether I want to either a) ignore my bra straps peeping out on the sides or b) wear a t-shirt or wide-strap tank top underneath. Also, probably because my row gauge was completely different from the pattern and because I didn’t think that through as clearly as I might have, the waist shaping and sleeve increases are a little clunky. They are fine in the wearing – normal people will not notice this – but a knitter might raise an eyebrow if they looked closely.

Oh! It would be unfair of me not to mention a totally dummy move I made in the making of this thing. When I joined the arms in, I accidentally joined one on upside down so that the decreases were on the top of the sleeve. I did not notice this until I was about an inch away from finishing the yoke, at which time much cursing ensued. This is where deep experience as a knitter comes in to save the day. I simply left it till I was otherwise done with the sweater, snipped a single thread in a single stitch on the offending arm, unpicked the stitches all around while sliding the newly live stitches from each side of the hole onto needles. Then I rotated the arm around into the proper position and grafted the baby back on. You totally can’t tell it ever happened. I’m calling this project a win.

Many thanks to my friend and neighbor Laura, who takes much better pictures of me than anyone else I know, and will do it on short notice with good humor. Thanks, Laura! You rock!

Bacchus Socks, Finito!

Tuesday, February 24th, 2009

Heya, everybody! I’ve got my final report ready on the Bacchus socks, but first let me give a little update on the handspun yarn sale I mentioned yesterday. I just sent out e-mail responses, and it looks like all but the pastel merino 2-ply is spoken for. Someone even wanted to buy the crack-smokin’ violet! In the mean time, I’ve actually started and finished a small spinning project and started another. I’m sure there will be another round of handspun sales eventually.

That, and I think I’m done dyeing yarn with food colors – there is only so much free time, and I’ve been there and done that. So as soon as I can motivate to take some pictures of those supplies I’ll offer them up to my loyal readers. It’s going to be a good deal.

On to the main purpose of this post – the new socks. These socks are really really pretty, although incredibly hard to photograph. I need to go take a photography class some day to figure out how to capture the texture of the knitted fabric better. At least with the digital camera I can take 20 bazillion tries and only show you the least-bad attempts.

Joe took this one, and you can see they fit me just fine, and look fine on, but not so much of the grapevine detail.

Here they are on the sock blockers, and in the natural sunlight the bobbles are a little more visible if you know what you’re looking at.

From a lower angle, you can see the texture even a bit more.

And here’s an up-close-and-personal one that really lets you see the bobbles. I love bobbles.

And to repeat the details, this is the Bacchus Socks pattern by Alice Bell, published in Interweave Knits Fall 2008. I knit them using the Cherries colorway of Merino Slim Sock from the Knittery. This yarn was delicious to knit with, a nice tight twist and on the lighter side of fingering. I used size 00 Addi Turbos to knit them up.

I think these socks will be going to the Fair, so that means I’ll tuck them away in the yarn closet and keep them unworn till next Fall. This was a fun pattern to knit, with gratifying results.

Glittens, Finished

Sunday, January 4th, 2009

Finally, these things are DONE!

As I’ve mentioned before, I much prefer the product of this project to the process.

They are incredibly soft, and I’m assuming warm – it’s below zero F here, so I guess I’ll be finding out in the morning. I made them a little bigger than my last pair, especially in length, as I think that will help prevent some of the wear at the tips of the thumbs, as well as add more ease at the thumb join.

I only wish I had added another repeat of the diamond motif on the hand-flap part, but no way was I going to rip back and re-do both mitts once I realized it. These are all about the functionality and the everyday wear. I am so ready to move on to the next project!

I got a little silly with the camera while Joe was taking pictures – I think I look like the not-so-silent partner in the Jay and Silent Bob duo in this last one.

Okay, and the only real process photo I feel like I need to show you is this one:

I think it fully demonstrates just how putzy this project is. It’s not difficult at all, but in this picture, the thumb stitches are on a piece of scrap yarn, the stitches for the hand flap are held on one circular needle, the stitches for the fingers are held on another circular needle, marked off with the orange and green markers for where to divide for each finger, and I’ve got one finger started. Yurg.

And because I know you all are wondering, this is my own Glittens pattern, downloadable from Ravelry, but spiced up a bit with the color pattern on the back. I knit them in Misti Alpaca, which is very nice. I might even knit up a scarf with some of the leftovers and have an entire matching set.

Even though I have at least two or three projects started and calling me loudly, I am so itching to cast on another something new (or five!)

A Scarf

Wednesday, December 17th, 2008

I’ve been wanting to knit something from the new Nancy Bush book, Knitted Lace of Estonia, since before it even came out. I’d had it in my Amazon wish list since I first heard about it, and when I got my hands on a copy (from my LYS – I use the Amazon list mostly to keep track of what I want, but really prefer to see a book in person before I buy it, and am happy to pay the premium for that service to my favorite yarn store).

This little project feels like it barely counts because it was so simple, quick and easy. But after struggling with a couple attempts to find the right pattern for this skein of handspun yarn, I figured the Raha scarf was just about as close to perfect as I was going to get.

Typical for lace, it looked awful before blocking:

But after, it’s not half bad.

Unfortunately, it’s not anywhere near as long as I would have liked, but there was only the one skein of yarn. I remember when I bought this yarn from Aisha at a craft sale a couple of years ago, the woman right in front of me bought the twin to this skein, and I chastised Aisha for letting her take just one of the pair – I would have bought both and had the perfect length scarf now!

But I will have to be satisfied with this length, long enough for one wrap around a neck and to be tucked into a winter coat. My brother-in-law and his fiance were over this last weekend, and I mentioned to her that I’d like to knit her a gift for Christmas. I offered socks, but told her she could pick a scarf or hat or mittens instead. She said she’d like a scarf, and I showed her this one before it was even blocked. She loves the color and thought she’d wear it even though it’s fairly short, so I think I’ll wrap it up with her name on it.

Now I’m really looking forward to casting on for one of the bigger, more intricate projects from this book – maybe with that silk yarn when I finish spinning it.

Socks and More Socks, Finished.

Sunday, December 14th, 2008

Hi, all. I’m finally in the mood for blogging again today. We’re mostly over that cold, although Sophie still has a stuffy nose and I just spent an hour and a half getting her back to sleep. Things are looking mostly up, and I’ve made some progress in the list of things driving me round and round in crazy-circles. I still have no idea what I’m going to serve for Christmas dinner, but I’ve got a post all scheduled for later in the week with holiday fun and goings on around here.

In the mean time, I’ve finally got a couple pairs of finished socks to show off. I just love the way the stripes in my Noros turned out. There was only one place in the second sock where I felt the need to fiddle with the color combinations where it was brown on brown.

Yes, these are for me.

Details for this project: I knit up one skein of Noro Kureyon Sock in colorway S164, starting with the skein split into two equal balls and alternating two-row stripes from each ball. I used my standard toe-up pattern with short-row toes and heels. My feet are women’s size 11, and even with a generous cuff I had plenty of yarn left over.

This yarn was less than totally fun to work with – it’s not crazy-soft, and it loves to stick to itself and tangle up. I do think it will be fairly sturdy to wear, though, and comfortably warm and soft on my feet even before washing. Just for the colors alone, these socks were definitely worth the trouble!

Oh, and look! It’s a second pair of socks that I whipped up fairly quickly and in relative secret.

These are the third annual birthday socks for my friend Jen. I know, I know, I’m not knitting for anyone but me this year, but I really wanted to keep up this little tradition. Jen actually wears the other two pairs I’ve knit her on a regular basis, and she somewhat gleefully requested another pair of stripey socks because she and her girls love them so much. Luckily, I had a very festive ball of OnLine Supersocke Holiday Color.

Jen was a very willing model, and they seemed to fit her well. I’ll show you the second part of her gift later in the week. Now I’m off to go write some more posts for scheduling.

Snowflake Scarf – Done!

Sunday, April 20th, 2008

The Snowflake Scarf is done and blocked, and I am quite pleased with it. I think when I started knitting on this one I thought it was going to be a replacement to my everyday black cashmere one that Joe had given me a couple years earlier and that I had lost. Silly me – I always think that I can knit fine lace and somehow bear to drudge it around the muck that is my every day life. Nope – I need something a little sturdier than that, which is why I ended up knitting the purple one a couple months ago. But this is beautiful, and it will be lovely for fancier occasions. But we’ll get to that in a minute.

I started this scarf way back in December of 2006. I was full-throttle working on the blankie at the time, but I needed a project to keep in the car for the days when I couldn’t get the girls to nap at home, but when they would magically fall asleep in the car and stay asleep long enough for me to drink a cup of coffee and relax with some knitting till my sanity came back into semi-focus. Those were some tough days, and as nice as it was to be able to hold some knitting and pretend to knit a row or two, progress was quite slow and sporadic.

The yarn was Fino by Alpaca with a Twist, which is laceweight 70% Baby Alpaca and 30% Silk, given to me by my SP 9 Pal in one of the best swap packages I think I have ever received. This yarn is scrumptious, and knit up nicely. I still have about half an ounce of it left and am wondering whatever I will do with this lovely little nugget. It is very soft, and has the silky shine and feel, but with a light halo from the alpaca.

The pattern is “A Russian Lace Scarf to Knit” by Dixie Falls and Jane Fournier, which was published in Piecework in the May/June 1995 issue, and more recently reprinted in the July/August 2007 issue, which is still available for order on Interweave’s website. I had seen a knitter-friend of mine wearing a scarf that she’d knit with the pattern and she was kind enough to loan me her copy of the magazine to knit from.

I haven’t seen the reprinted version (have just ordered a copy for my files), but in the 1995 version, the charts are hand-drawn with symbols that are not standard by today’s standards at least. So I transcribed them into more modern charts using Stitch Painter Pro, at the same time combining the main pattern with the edge patterns so I could look at them all in one row. I’m horrible at memorizing stitch patterns. For better or for worse (I think for better, actually) I made a mistake when I was transcribing the pattern and omitted a row from the border patterns. It didn’t make much difference in the look of the borders in the end, but it did work out so that the border charts ended on the same rows as the middle section charts. This meant that I could do exactly however many repeats as I pleased instead of working to a multiple of three as the original pattern required. One more repeat would have been no big deal in my case, but if I had been running out of yarn (as so often happens) having to choose whether to go another three repeats and risk running out would have made me grind my teeth.

Let’s move on to the pictures! As I’ve mentioned before and as I believe the knitting community generally agrees, unblocked lace looks like crap.

Well, not entirely crap, but certainly not living up to its potential.

Oops – we interrupt this discussion of lace scarves for a cute-kid pic. The girls got new rain gear, and I let them go out in the nice, gentle rain we had all day Friday to splash around for a while. That was all the gettin’ out of the house we did that day, because I’m still not quite well. My neck is better, but now my stomach is off. soon, it will be summer, and hopefully the solar radiation will kill off some of the germs that have plagued us lo, this long, long Minnesota winter.

Aaaand back to the lace. The scarf and I held a little blocking session, in which I once more employed my blocking-with-sock-yarn technique. I love blocking this way. I keep reading blog posts about how wonderful blocking wires are, and I get so close to buying a set, and then it comes time to block something and I use my standard technique, and I realize that I don’t need another piece of knitting equipment filling up my yarn closet, and that I think I’m happier with this method anyway.

I use very few pins – mostly just at the corners to hold the ends of the yarn lines tight, plus a few along the longer sides to make sure I don’t get dips. This time I got the yarn lines tight enough that they stayed almost perfectly straight on their own. I do measure half- and quarter-way down the line an make sure that the points are spaced evenly. In the picture below, you can see a pin that I stuck into the cloth just below the blocking area to mark where the half-way point is.

I like this method best because you get to string the “wires” in before you soak the lace, and I think sitting on the couch threading dry lace points onto sock yarn at my leisure has got to be better than rushing to get all the points onto the wires after they’re wet but before they start to dry. But I’ve never tried wires, so I’m not speaking from full experience. Another advantage is that my “wires” are always exactly the right length.

I probably could have blocked it an inch or two wider, but I blocked it exactly 16″ point-to-point so that it will fall into the scarf category at the fair instead of shawl/stole. The competition in the scarf category is stiff, and I don’t necessarily expect to win a ribbon, but the shawl/stole category is even tougher! It’ll probably need a fresh blocking by August, but it’s not like I was going to wait that long to show it off. And, um, I’m not going to tell you exactly what method I ended up going with on the edge-joining. I’m just going to say that *I’m* really happy with the way it looks, and if you want to remind me, I’ll tell you what I did after I get the results back from the fair.

And on to the glamour shots. Not very glamourous, really…but you can imagine if I had a nice dress on that it would make a pretty accessory for a fancy party.

And it would go just fine with my coat if I wanted to wear it to some cold-weather knitting event.

Yay!

I’ve already moved onward to the next project in the mean time. I’ve got a good little start on my Sunrise Circle. More on that in the next day or two – I’m really happy with how it’s cranking along.

Scarf! Done! And other Randomness!

Monday, March 3rd, 2008

It turns out that I did manage to finish that simple scarf I showed you last week pretty quick after all. I knew I would have a little extra knitting time on Thursday and Friday, because although I hadn’t mentioned it, I had a little minor surgery scheduled for Thursday, and had pretty much read Joe the riot act ahead of time to the effect of “You will be in charge of the kids and I will be left *!?%& alone for a couple of days!”

I was actually a little wound up leading up to Thursday because of the less-than-stellar performance Joe has given in caregiving after the births of both girls, and I was trying to play it cool, but then of course it all exploded the night before, and I ended up crying on his shoulder in the kitchen at midnight. Either Joe has grown much in the last two years, or my explosion hit home or some other magic occurred because he did a great job of letting me relax and recover from what turned out to be a pretty darn easy procedure.

Some of you may remember me asking about a certain procedure several months ago, and it is that one. Let’s not go into further details, other than to say that I have no regrets at all whatsoever – even if it turns out to be less effective than I have hopes for it to be, it was a nearly painless procedure and recovery (I do have a very high pain tolerance, though) and I scored a day of near-total leisure out of it the likes of which I have not had since -oh- Julie was born.

But back to the knitting…I thought I was going to blog last night, and I took these pictures yesterday. The scarf looks like a rumpled rag in its unblocked state.

Daisy cat loves to be around my knitting, but I think she was actually a bit freaked out that I was arranging it around her like that.

Oh, and by the way, here is the status of the current pair of socks – both well past the heel, and I’ve knit on them a bit more this evening, so they’re even farther along now.

I always do get a little nervous when my supply of mindless stockinette-in-the-round gets a bit low, so I went ahead and started toes for the next pair, which also served as good samples for the sock class I just started teaching on Saturday. I needed at least one sock set up on double-points to serve as a visual aid in my little lecture on the various needle choices one has when knitting socks – double-points, two circulars, magic loop, two socks on two circulars or magic loop (gods help us).

And since we’re totally sidetracked from the scarf at the moment, I may as well go ahead and show you the skein of yarn that followed me home from the store. It’s Opal cotton-wool-nylon blend sock yarn, just another self-striping variation. Wrapping up the blankie project had me thinking about how sock yarns come and go, and how I’ve passed up some lovely ones in the past that are no longer available and that I would really like to have. Also, I’m sensing a trend in the market away from some of the lovely self-striping commercial yarns that have been available in the last several years. I don’t think they’re going to go away altogether, but I’ve made up my mind to go ahead and buy a skein here and there when it strikes my eye. Plus, I need more cotton-wool stash – I like the socks, and I have a box of cotton-wool scraps waiting to get big enough for another project one of these days. Yes, I do think I should have two heirloom blankets for my two girls eventually.

And now back to the scarf. I had been worried when I started it that my one-of-a-kind skein of 267 yards of handspun Blue Faced Leister wool averaging about sport or DK weight might not be quite enough for a good-length scarf. So I intentionally picked an open lace pattern, to stretch it out a bit, and I chose a rather narrow width just to be sure. If there were enough yarn after all, I could always just keep knitting it longer, therefore allowing enough length to wrap it several times around my neck. Turns out I had about the right amount.

It looks pretty ratty and scrunched up in this picture still, but you can see the strands of sock yarn that I ran down the sides to aid in blocking.

Then I got the sucker wet and pinned it out. It looks much better stretched to its openwork limits. Like a torture chamber for lace.

In case you’re curious, the way I like to block lace is to use strong smooth yarn in the same way one would use blocking wires – run it through the edges, and then just pull it tight enough to make a mostly straight line. The additional pins along the edges help keep the lines from dipping too much. I tie a slip-knot at the ends and poke a pin through the loop to hold it in place. My poor guest bed acts like a giant pin cushion, but at least the vinyl gingham table cloth keeps the water out of the mattress and the checkers are very helpful in lining everything up straight. This method works even better on pieces that are less long and narrow.

This pattern is super easy, hardly worth calling a pattern. If you’re interested in knitting something similar, here’s what I did.

Cast on 31 sts.
K 1 row plain
Repeat next two rows till you’re almost out of yarn:
Row 1: K3, YO, K2, sl 2 sts as if to knit at the same time, k1, pass slipped sts over (centered decrease), K2, YO, K1, YO, K3, centered decrease, K3, YO, K1, YO, K2, centered decrease, K2, YO, K3
Row 2: K3, P7, K1, P9, K1, P7, K3
K 1 row plain
Bind off loosely.

Lace doesn’t get much easier than that.

Oh hey! Those bags I ordered from messie on etsy showed up in like one day. She is so fast on shipping, and she even waived shipping charges since I ordered more than $30 worth. I always get complements on her bags when I’m out with a project in one of them. They are quite handy and super-cute. Perfect for a sock project.

Here’s what my family was doing on Friday while I was laying around knitting and watching movies – Joe took the girls to the zoo, and I pulled pictures off the camera when they came home. They love the area where they can stick their hands in the pools full of fish.

This picture cracked me up because that is such a typical Julie pose and expression.

Oh, and I’ve been wanting to show off these drawings of Julie’s – I think I will have to frame at least one or two of them. The ones on the left are just a couple in a series she did over the last couple weeks – they are people floating away with balloons. The one on the right is a picture of the ficus tree in our living room. I love it so much I confiscated it. Julie loves doing art projects, and she’s had a little leap forward in her abilities lately. Yes, they are totally typical four-year-old art projects, but they are *my* four-year-old’s art projects, and so are utterly precious to *me*.

I’m off to bed, to drift off to sleep pondering which main project I’ll pick up tomorrow – another lace scarf? One of the many sweaters in the wings? The entrelac socks? Oh, the possibilities! Oh, the decisions!

Blankie Friday – the Wrap-Up

Wednesday, February 27th, 2008

I can’t believe this is it – the final Blankie Friday. The culmination of what seems like forever, but really in the long run has been a simple blink in the eye. The blankie has been a huge part of my life these last 20 months. It has led me to many new friends, most far, far away in the computer, but a few real, in-person friends. It has been a constant companion, growing in my lap. It has been something to photograph and write about, to dream with. And here it is all grown up.

Let’s start with a few fun facts:

The finished dimensions are 53″ X 72.5″, or 134 X 184 cm (diamond point to diamond point.)

The finished weight is 2 lbs, 13 oz or 1.282 kg.

That’s about 5960 yards/5450 meters – or 3.3 miles/5.4 kilometers of yarn.

512 sts per square times 736 squares (counting each of the large squares as four) adds up to 376,832 stitches in the squares alone.

Each square took about 25 minutes to knit, and if you add five minutes to that for picking out the next color and weaving in two ends, half an hour per square adds up to 368 hours of my life just knitting the squares for the blankie. That over 20 months, start to finish, comes out to an average of well over one square per day, which was my original goal for progress on the project.

The Timeline…

Blankie was started at the beginning of July, 2006 – it first appears on the blog here, leading me to believe that I started it right around the first of July, 2006.

Just a few days later, I wrote a post that sparked a flood of gifts, sparked on by the Yarn Harlot’s post here. It is hard for me to believe, in retrospect, that so many people so generously sent me their yarn on faith based on the tiny little start I had going in this picture.

Note the tiny basket of original yarn scraps. That was the sum total of my own scraps that I started with.

Lots of people were interested in knitting a similar blanket right away, and I felt like the least I could do to repay the huge response of yarn-scrap gifts was to write up a little tutorial. I do seem to be unable to write a blog post without embedding my family in it, so it’s a long, rambly tutorial, but it gets the job done. Start Here, Then Read This, Then This, and Finally This.

Before I knew it, I was inundated with packages, and it was like Christmas every day for a while there. I spent hours and hours opening packages, photographing them, and thanking the senders in the blog. That was probably the most fun part of the entire project, except perhaps the last five minutes of applied i-cord knitting.

Before long, I was pretty darn well buried in yarn. The cats loved it…

Some of that yarn went to other blankie knitters, more of it went to charity knitters – my favorite was Jo-Ann in Ontario, who knits bears for various children’s charities.

The blankie (and I) have gotten to meet the Yarn Harlot once in Eau Claire.

And again in St. Paul

And hopefully we will get a third picture with Stephanie when she comes to St. Paul again in April. She has been so gracious in the past, I’m really looking forward to thanking her one more time with a final product in hand.

And before we get to the pictures you’ve really been waiting for, I’ll announce the
Contest Winners…

Part the first was sock yarn identification.

Sock yarn C

was the most contentious, and at least a couple of people guessed that it was Fortissima Socka color Mexico 9072 Sundown. And it’s funny because I actually knit a sweater for Julie when she was little (and which Sophie still wears sometimes) and a pair of socks for myself out of that color, or one in the series.

Sorry, but that ain’t it. Fortunately, ikkinlala came up with what I believe to be the right answer, which is Opal Brasil #5001. She even found it available here, which is great, but I chose to order a skein of it through an e-bay seller because I found the whole “every fifth stitch is for g*d” thing a little creepy, and also her ordering system was kind of confusing.

Sock yarn A

turns out to be Trekking #131, correctly identified by Razor Knit Girl. Thanks for the help, RKG, and I left a comment on your blog asking you to e-mail me. On further reflection, I’m not sure that I’m going to order that one after all. As much as I enjoy looking at those colors playing together on the blanket, they are totally not colors that I would wear. So I will at least hold off on them for a while.

I’m a little disappointed that nobody even guessed on squares B

or D

because those are probably my two favorite and I would totally buy them if I could get my hands on them. Anyone? Anyone? Bueller? I’ll extend the offer of a set of notecards and a little surprise to the first person to comment with good information on what these yarns are.

The second part of the contest was giving away the remains of the blankie scraps. I did get a few responses on this one, including an offer to buy some of the yarn. Sorry, but there is no way my conscience is going to allow me to *sell* yarn that was gifted to me! But there is enough to pass along at least a little something to everyone who responded with a link to a picture.

Sandra is churchlady on Ravelry, and is blogless, but has a teeny little beginning to a blankie.
Sopranospinner linked to her latest picture on Flickr.
Jesse has pictures of her newly-started blankie up on Ravelry
Knit & Purl Mama showed me her little chunk of blankie
Alice debuted her blankie on her blog just for the contest.

All of you are winners! E-mail me with your mailing addresses and color preferences (I’ll do my best – there is an awful lot of blue, brown, black and white in the mix). I’ll get some packages in the mail soon-ish. Just remember – you’re taking on responsibility for the care and wellbeing of this yarn – don’t neglect it!

Okay, and finally the “show me the blankie!” portion of the contest…there were 116 entries, and the random number generator chose 53, which turns out to be StaceyK, aka moonlightknitter, aka moonlightknitter on Ravelry. Stacey, e-mail me your mailing address and I will get a fabulous package out to you soon!

Thanks to everyone who spewed happy comments on last week’s post – it was so much fun reading them all this week, feeling your excitement along with my own.

Now for the real goods…

The photos speak for themselves, no? Happy Friday, everyone! Blankie Fridays are over for now, although I’m sure Blankie will be showing up again from time to time. I will enter it in the Minnesota State Fair this year, and I will bring it with me when I go see the Yarn Harlot in April. Oh, and I’ll probably have it with me at Yarnover this year as well. If you see me with it, come say hello and give it a squish.

Lifecycle of a Sock

Wednesday, February 13th, 2008

The other day I was wearing a pair of my handknit socks, as usual. This pair I remember knitting on the year before Julie was born, so they must have been about 5 years old, and have been in fairly steady rotation all winter long since then. The yarn is Lang Jawoll, and the only pair I’ve ever made from this brand because it contains some acrylic and they tend to get a bit swampy. Still, the colorway goes well with blue jeans, so they got regular wear anyway.

Five years is quite a good long life for a sock, handknit or not. On this particular day last week, I realized that they had lived just about to the end of their life.

The heel was just about ready to poke on through the sole, and the toe was getting quite thin.

I generally subscribe to the Yarn Harlot’s school of thought of darning socks, which involves standing over a trash can and saying “darn it!” Really, I have tried darning socks in the past, and find it not worth bothering for several reasons. 1. I would much rather be knitting on a new sock than sewing on an old one. 2. I would much rather be wearing a new sock than an old one with lumpy darns at the heels and toes. 3. Never fails – patch up one hole on a sock, and the yarn next door starts giving way after a few more wears.

I did have a little light-bulb moment as I was pondering all this once again, though. I’m going to start saving my blown-out socks and maybe some day there will be enough of them to cut up and make a blanket out of – the nice stretch of stockinette fabric on the ankles generally stays in great shape, and it would be easy to stabilize it with some machine knitting, open the tube up and sew all the chunks together. I don’t know if or when it will actually happen, but it couldn’t hurt to hold on to the old socks just in case, right?

In the mean time, and just in time, my Fleece Artist Seawool socks were nearly finished. It really is magical how you can spend a few minutes casting on a sock, and then by simply stealing a few minutes here and there, knitting during a meeting or some other down moment in the car, you suddenly have a new pair of socks.

I took a little time away from the blankie over the weekend and voila!

Joe even agreed to take a happy-feet shot. (Rolling his eyes the entire time, I assure you.)

And finally, just in time for Valentine’s Day, the new socks are taking center stage on my non-blankie knitting agenda. Vesper Sock Yarn’s Love Stinks colorway.

You may remember that I had started this pair using the Rainbow something-or-other pattern with all the short rows. I frogged it back and am now knitting them plain-jane stockinette, and am very happy. Love no longer stinks!

FO – Socks

Tuesday, January 15th, 2008

Nothing particularly exciting here – those damn ugly socks are finally finished.

They’re not so horrible, really – just boring and not particularly wonderful. But they are warm, and they will match practically any blue jean outfit I might put on. And at least the yarn won’t be wasted. I’m just glad to put them behind me and move on to the next pair of mindless socks.

The details, for the record – these were for me out of yarn I dyed – fingering weight Kraemer sock yarn. I used size 0 needles and my own toe-up sock pattern. The one slightly interesting thing about this pair is that on the first sock I knit K1P1 ribbing, which is not my usual M.O. So then when it came time to knit the ribbing on the second, I started in with my usual K2P2, and when I realized the mistake I just kept at it and figured I didn’t care about it, and nobody else was going to notice either.