Archive for the “pomatomus” Category

2009 was a slow knitting year for me; I only completed three projects. (Of course, if I’d been able to keep to one sock at a time, I’d probably have three more pairs to show…)

PomatomusPomatomus are the most complex socks I’ve ever knitted. Although they’re rated as difficult, I found that the stitch pattern made a lot of sense and was actually quite easy to follow once I got the hang of it. On the other hand, they’re definitely not a mindless sock that I’d feel comfortable knitting on without the pattern in front of me, checking off rounds as I finish them. I love them, but unlike some other patterns (*cough*Jaywalker*cough*) I’m not tempted to knit another pair. Pomatomus were my introduction to Cookie A.’s designs; this free pattern came from the Winter 2005 Knitty.

fleeptop3I wear my Fleep-Tops more than any other piece of knitting I’ve finished, I think. They are amazingly warm and incredibly comfortable, and not quite like anything I’ve ever seen in a store. I used a combination of Knitty’s Cigar pattern and Sarkasmo’s Gnomittens, with added miniature fleep-top thumb caps. They were a good quick project, finished in only a month. It’s unfortunate that the yarn is discontinued; I would love to make a backup pair, or perhaps some as gifts for people I especially like. Perhaps some medium- or heavyweight Socks that Rock from Blue Moon Fiber Arts would be a good substitution.

Quick Toe Ups 3The thoroughly misnamed Quick Toe Up Socks weren’t quick at all, not after I found a knot in the first skein of yarn and had to do some serious futzing to make the stripes line up from one sock to the other. I used Wendy Johnson’s Generic Toe-Up Sock Pattern, substituting a figure-eight toe, and made the sock 64 stitches around. It pleases me that they match so perfectly, even if I had to be ridiculously perfectionist about getting them that way! I like when my striped socks match up, especially wide stripes.

FreckleFaceFibers BFL Fingering WeightWhile it wasn’t knitting, I did do an overhaul of this site in 2009 to change the look and feel, and I added a Twitter account. I bought a new spinning wheel, a Kromski Sonata in walnut, on which I spun several skeins of yarn, including this BFL two-ply which is rapidly becoming my first pair of handspun socks. I’m considering selling the Ashford Traditional; while I love the way it looks, it doesn’t fit me quite right and I don’t spin on it. Perhaps I’ll give it one last try before I make a decision. Pirate-Husband says that it matches the house, and if I want to keep it around as a decoration, he’d be fine with that… but I think it’s sad to have a working wheel that isn’t ever used.

car_afterAlso in 2009: I read 26 books, which took up some knitting time, and I finally learned to drive a car with a manual transmission so that I could trade in my old beat-up Cutlass for a new shiny Mazda3.

I am excited about 2010! I have plans to finish up the projects on my needles and start some new ones, to publish a design or two, and to improve my spinning skills. My parents bought a KitchenAid stand mixer for Pirate-Husband and me for our combined birthday and Chanukah gifts, so there will be fresh bread to go along with the yarn. Things just keep getting better and better!

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pomatomus_done6Finally, finally, after two years, I have completed my ninth pair of socks, the Pomatomus. I love them, now that they’re done. They fit well and are comfortable. So far, they are the most complex project I have ever finished. The pattern was well-written and not at all difficult to follow. I would recommend it to anyone wanting to knit some fancier socks. Some people have mentioned being hesitant to try this pattern because it looks so hard. It’s really not!

pomatomus_done4So why did it take two years to finish the socks if the pattern isn’t hard? Simple: I hate the yarn. I wish I liked it – the colors are gorgeous and ripple together like sunlight on water, just perfect for a sock that looks like fish scales. Pirate-Husband says that they are a “triumph of stick-to-it-iveness!” I’d wanted to make matching armwarmers; It’s unfortunate that knitting with cotton blends makes my hands ache. I have 100g of it plus some change from the socks, and it’s up for sale or trade. If I get no takers, maybe in a year or so I’ll try those armwarmers.

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Second PomatomusThe second sock is zipping right along. I finished the heel flap on Friday night and the gusset on Saturday night, and now I’m halfway through the second pattern repeat on the foot. 45 rows to go ’til the toe. If I had known that I could knit this fast, maybe I wouldn’t have let the sock sit for so long!

My hands are feeling it, so I’m taking a bit of a break tonight. Even though the yarn is only 45% cotton, it doesn’t move and flex the way a yarn with more wool content would. On the other hand, the cotton content should make them nice spring-weight socks. I am so excited to have them done and on my feet, because I have a skirt with which they will match perfectly. I almost never match and accessorize and do that girly stuff, but this outfit is just coming together in a way that outfits generally don’t for me.

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pomatomus_footIn straightening up the yarn corner and finding the gift swap yarn, I also found an old project that I’ve been avoiding – the dreaded Pomatomus socks. I cast on for these in March of 2007. It is ridiculous that it’s taken me two years to knit them. The first one has been done for a while; I think I finished it only a few months after starting. I even cast on for the second sock right away, to avoid Second Sock Syndrome, but never quite got past the first two pattern repeats. The sock-and-a-half got packed away when we moved up to the house last year, and I haven’t really made any progress on it since.

Today I finished the leg of the second sock, and tomorrow I’ll knit the heel flap. I want these socks done so that I can wear them this summer! I’m knitting with Plymouth Sockotta, which is a blend of 45% cotton, 40% wool, and 15% nylon. The cotton content, combined with all the knitting through the back loops, is hard on my hands… but I can and will finish.

pomatomus_yarnOf all the pictures that I’ve taken of my knitting, this is one of my favorites. It accurately shows the colors of the yarn (your monitor may vary) and some of my favorite needles. They’re 6″ Crystal Palace bamboo in size 1/2.25 mm, and after several pairs of socks, are perfectly curved to fit my hands. Part of the reason I want to finish the Pomatomus is so that I can have these needles back. I’m not sure what I’ll be knitting on them, but I won’t be casting on for a new project for a while. At least, not until the Napramach bag is done…

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Yesterday was gray and drizzly, and I didn’t accomplish much in the way of knitting. I did catch up with friends for a bit, and had a lovely dinner with Pirate-Husband of chicken, sweet potato, and acorn squash over couscous… but no knitting! This morning was black and rainy, my commute took twenty minutes longer than it should, and I’m a little grumpy about it. In order to make myself feel better, I’m looking at my stash on Ravelry.

(I also ordered a three-pack of Malbec from wine.woot to make myself feel better, but that’s not as closely related to yarn and fiber… though it’s just as relaxing!)

So anyway, my stash. It’s so soothing to look at it, even in pictures, even without the tactile pleasures. I can imagine what I’ll knit or spin, I can envision the excitement of casting on and the accomplishment of binding off, the curiosity to see how dyed top will spin up and the milestones of filling a bobbin, plying, washing, and parading the finished yarn around the house.

I’m starting to plan out my 2009 fiber arts. Mom’s gloves should be done in two weeks (I’m being realistic; I can knit a glove in a week but my hands will hate me for it) and my socks should hopefully be finished in the next few weeks after that. Maybe I can get both of those projects done before the New Year!

Two fairly complex projects need to be worked on. The first is the Pomatomus socks; I have no excuse for not having those complete already. The next is Napramach, a colorwork bag for friend Angie, who has made me some beautiful SCA garb. I have the yarn and am thoroughly intimidated by the pattern.

Two sock designs are percolating in my head. One is the written-up pattern for the with numbers for a smaller size worked out, and a new name of “Brother’s Socks.” The second is the design I started in the sock class I took with Cookie A. back in September, which is much more elaborate. I’m going to name it “Verdant.”

2009 will also be a year for spinning. I can’t justify the purchase of a second wheel until I’m spending more time at the one I have. And I can’t justify the purchase of more top/roving until I’ve spun up some of what I have. The Yarn Harlot says that Tuesdays are for spinning, so perhaps I will take her advice and schedule time that’s specifically for turning fluff into usable yarn. I would really like to have a pair of socks made from my own handspun. I also have a dream of a lace shawl from my own handspun, but I’m not touching those rolags until I’m more confident in my ability to spin smooth, fine yarn.

It’s possible that 2009 will be a year for dyeing. There’s only one room in the house that hasn’t been unpacked and set up yet, and that’s the crafts room. Well, right now it’s a boxes-and-laundry room. The washer and dryer are going to stay right where they are, but there’s no reason that the rest of the room can’t be set up for arts and crafts! I’d like to arrange a fiber station with areas for both carding and dyeing.

Ahh, I’m feeling better already…

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On a whim, I slipped Pirate-Husband’s sock in progress over my foot last night. It is definitely too big for me, but it seems to be proportioned well. I really want to get it done, at least the first one, so I know if I’ve got the right size/number of stitches – but it’s been too hot to think about knitting. The heat indexes for the past couple of days have been over 100 degrees (38 C)!

Fortunately, with the air conditioning in my house now working, and the breeze that comes off the mountain, it hasn’t been too terrible. I’ve been keeping up with exercising, even if it does take time away from knitting and spinning.

So there are about five inches left to go on this sock, which means that if I really put my mind to it, it can be done in the next week or so. Yes, I could drop out of life and finish in two days, but that’s not really an option!

Plus, the Pomatomus sock has been glaring at me lately. I’m hiding from it.

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This is the beginning of Pirate-Husband’s Plain Sock. It’s made with Regia 4-ply in colorway 1039, a manly brown-brown-black. I did 20 rows of ribbing (an inch and a half) and now it’s a long stockinette journey to the heel.

I shouldn’t be working on these at home; they should be my traveling sock. I should be working on the Pomatomuseses or the Ostrich Plumes scarf. But I’m tired, and they’re easy, and I want to give Pirate-Husband his socks sooner rather than later. My feet can wait for Pomatomii and that scarf may be done before I’m 40, but at this rate I’m not sure!

Someone else offered to wind off some Pirate’s Booty for me. Knitters are the nicest people! I let her know that I’d already spoken to someone and expected the yarn next week, and thanked her profusely. I can’t wait for those socks to be done. It’s like they’re taunting me with their unfinishedness – just a few rounds to go, and they sit on my desk glaring at me for abandoning them. It’s not their fault. They don’t know that I’m waiting for their toe-yarn to arrive.

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Janis wrote,
I think self-striping sock yarns are a good standby for when you need a mindless knitting project. That way they look fantastic in just a plain stockinette. *enables*

Janis, I love you, but have you seen my stash lately? I so don’t need any more self-striping sock yarn! I do love the plain stockinette sock, and I’ll be making a pair for Pirate-Husband out of some brown non-striping yarn, but then I have six balls of stripy stuff, three balls of Trekking which may or may not be considered stripy, and three skeins of variegated stuff. That’ll keep me busy for a while, don’t you think?

Last night I sat down and put a couple of rows onto Pomatomus. I’m almost done with the second pattern repeat on the leg. One more to go, then the heel, then three and a half pattern repeats for the foot. Once again, I regret having such long feet!

I’d like to think that I’ll spend my lunch break putting the heel flap onto the Garter Rib Sock, but I know it’s just not going to happen that way. Ah well, there’s always post-work time.

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Ten more rows, the bind-off, the seaming, and the buttons, and the Baby Surprise Jacket will be done. I have approximately four free hours tonight in which to accomplish this. Is it possible? Hell yes it is!

…and now it’s even more possible; I just got a call from Pirate-Husband that the electrician is coming to fix our hot tub tomorrow between noon and four. Seems like I’ll be home in the afternoon, whether it’s a “work from home” thing or just taking half a day off.

Even so, I’m going to try to get the sweater finished tonight. I will be so happy when it’s done! Not only because I am looking forward to giving it, but because I really want to get back to some of my other projects. Pomatomus, I’m looking at you!

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Cici commented, “I liked seeing your ostrich plumes.. I just got the pattern and am ready to cast on.. I was dissapointed that there wasn’t a chart. Did you make a chart for yours? Is it easily read without it? I think charts are lifesavers.”

The Ostrich Plumes pattern is so simple that I didn’t bother to make a chart. I did, however, write out the pattern with each instruction on its own separate line, which made it easy for me to follow. By the second run through the pattern, I found that I didn’t even have to look any more. It’s repetitive and easy to memorize (especially the odd rows, which are “purl across”). If you are more comfortable working from a chart, there are only two rows which would need charting – the pattern for rows 4, 8, 12 and 16, and the pattern for rows 20, 24, 28, and 32.

On the other hand, I’ve found the chart invaluable for Pomatomus. I don’t think I’d make it through those socks without referring back to the chart at every round!

In other news, last night at SnB, I was able to borrow the needles for my Sekrit Winterholiday Gift Project, and that should be cranked out this weekend. I’ll take pictures, but I can’t post anything until the gift has been given!

Also at SnB, I got up to the part of the Trekking Ribbed Sock where the toe begins. I wanted to re-measure against my foot before starting the decreases, so I stopped there and chatted for a bit before heading home with the toe-less sock. I’m still a little worried that the sock will be too small, but I’ve had this fear before and everything turned out okay then.

Samantha asked, re my plan to block the socks right on my feet, “Won’t your feet be cold? Mine would shiver…” That’s what the hairdryer is for, to keep my feet warm and expedite the drying/blocking process! Unfortunately, I don’t have real radiators in my apartment, and I don’t think I can hold my feet up to the registers in the ceiling. (I love having central air, really I do, but sometimes I miss radiators.)

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