Archive for the “quick toe-up” 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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quicktoeups4My goodness! From this angle, my feet look cute and little! You’d never guess I wear a size 10.5… Anyway, today I wore the Quick Toe-Up Socks to work, and y’know – they don’t really fit so badly after all! They were a little tight to get on, but once I wore them for a bit, they settled right in. The instep isn’t too stretched out, and there’s no wrinkling of extra fabric no matter how I flex my foot around. That’s pretty darn cool. I read something about how short-row heels fit better when knit over 60% of the total stitches rather than 50%, and now of course I want to try that to see how well it works. I really do love the look of the short-row heel with self-striping yarn, and I’d like to keep using it if I can make it fit well.

So, just a short entry tonight. I put a few rows on the heel flap of Pomatomus, but Pirate-Husband and I were out for most of the evening and so I didn’t get much knitting done. We have very little planned for this weekend, and so other than house-cleaning and basking in the unseasonably warm weather, I shall be knitting! I’m pretty sure I can knit and bask at the same time…

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Quick Toe Ups 3The (Perhaps Not-So) Quick Toe Up Socks are complete! After carrying them around with me for a week, three ends unwoven, I sat down today and finished them off. Usually I don’t block socks at all, but these are a little tight and so I’m considering it. Or I could just wear them until they stretch to my feet. I admit that I’m disappointed with the fit, and of course this is the sort of sock yarn that wears like iron, so I’ll have them in rotation for a long time to come.

To sum up: Wendy’s Generic Toe-Up Sock pattern, substituting a figure-eight toe. 64 stitches, short-row heel, a bit of 2×2 ribbing at the top. Lane Cervinia “Forever” in colorway 61, US size 1 needles… and lots of fiddling around to make the pair match!

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Pirate-Husband and I were invited to a “Red Wine and Chocolate” party for Valentine’s Day at friends’ who live just over three hours away. (He made a flourless chocolate cake for the occasion; it was rich and fantastic with whipped cream on top.) I took the opportunity and driving time to work on the Quick Toe-Up Socks. I knit in the car, in the pizza parlor while waiting for dinner, at the party, and this morning after breakfast I finished them. There are just three ends left to weave in, and they are done!

I’m not entirely thrilled with the fit. The last short-row heel socks I made were 68 stitches around, and they were loose around the foot. These are 64 stitches around, and fit great on the foot but are tight over the instep. I probably won’t make a heel this way again; gussets fit much better. I really do like the look of a short row heel, especially with self-striping yarn, but if it’s not going to fit well…

Fortunately, there are at least two different ways (ETA, after Janis’s comment: two different patterns that I currently have. There are *many* different ways…) of doing a toe-up sock with a gusset, and I plan to try them in turn until I find one that fits!

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Because of the inauguration, I worked from home today. I worked until Pirate-Husband came home. We worked out, showered, had dinner, and sat down to a movie… but then I remembered! It’s Tuesday! *Spinning Tuesday*… and I hadn’t spun a single yard of yarn all day!

graygreenrovingI wasn’t going to bring the wheel downstairs to where the television is, and I didn’t think I could concentrate on making even laceweight while I watched the movie, so I grabbed the heavier spindle, a 1.5 ounce Cascade Little Si, and the gray-green mystery wool. First I had to wind off what was already on the spindle, because it was heavy enough that it wasn’t spinning properly. Then I spun for about half an hour.

I’m coming out with a fairly consistent singles, but the spindle keeps stopping. Or spinning the wrong way. I try to draft as it’s spinning, but when I let go, the spindle jerks and stops. That’s not right, but I’m not sure what’s wrong. More practice is obviously necessary, and in the meantime, I’m getting yarn out of the deal.

20090119_haircutglassesYesterday, on my day off for Martin Luther King Day, I saw the dentist, then got a haircut and new glasses. I’m pretty pleased with my new look! The hairdresser and the optometrist are conveniently in the same shopping center as With Yarn in Front, so while my lenses were being ground, I stopped in there to knit for a while. I had a great conversation with 11-year-old James about the benefits of magic loop vs. DPNs for sock knitting while he worked on a hat and I added some stripes to the Quick Socks. We talked about spinning (we both have Ashford Traditionals) and about our previous projects until my glasses were ready. All in all, a great day indeed.

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All of the fingers on both gloves are knit, and I have only eight ends left to weave in. I find it easier to do that in daylight because the yarn is so dark, so I’ll take care of them on our next sunny day. The mittens and thumb-caps shouldn’t take long, and then I will have a pair of fleep-top gloves! I am quite pleased with the way the gloves have turned out. They fit my hands like… well, like gloves. Ugh, that was terrible, but it’s true – the modifications I made to the pattern were just right. I’ve gained confidence while working on this project, for sure. The next time a pattern needs to be changed, I will have more faith in myself that I can get it right.

Putting the gloves aside, I went back to the socks and began the heel on Sock #2. With some pauses for conversation and to wander the internet, I had it finished in two hours. This means that the socks are portable again! I plan to work alternately on whichever sock is shorter until they’re both finished. Pirate-Husband and I are going to visit my parents this afternoon for my birthday celebration, and I expect to put a few inches on one sock leg or another while we’re at their house.

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Although yesterday was Wednesday, and therefore not necessarily a Spinning Day, I couldn’t keep my hands off the new spindle. I’m starting to get the hang of getting it going at high speeds without introducing a wobble, and for the most part I’m drafting while the spindle is still spinning. If the yarn breaks, I have to do a park-and-rejoin sort of trick.

Today, however, I must get back to knitting. My plan is to first get through the heel of the second Toe-Up sock, so that the project becomes portable again. After that, I’ll put fingers onto the Fleep-Tops. I should be able to finish both the gloves and the socks before Winterlude. Not only does that mean I’ll have a new pair of warm wool socks to wear in the winter cold, it means that I’ll be casting on a new project with which to travel!

Actually, there’s a distinct probability that I’ll be casting on two new projects. Part of my travels are by air, which calls for a sock – small, portable, fits in my usual purse – and part will be a road trip, which calls for something bigger than a sock, because I can only knit on a sock for about an hour in the car before getting a headache.

Kureyon Sock 188It took an unsurprisingly long time to decide what socks I’d be working on. First I thought I would do another pair of toe-up stockinette socks. After all, I can practically knit those in my sleep! Then I thought no, I want to do something with a little more patterning to it. Nothing too complex, so I could still work on it and talk at the same time. Finally I settled on the Thermal Socks, which use the stitch pattern from the Thermal Sweater from Knitty. I’m going to use Noro Kureyon Sock yarn for them, but I still haven’t decided if I’ll work them top-down or toe-up. Given Kureyon’s propensity for knots, I will definitely be re-winding the yarn into two even portions before I begin.

Noro Silk Garden 226For the bigger project, I am considering this Wavy Razor Shell Scarf in Noro Silk Garden. I have three skeins of it in beautiful soft blues, grays and purples. The only change I plan to make is that I will knit the scarf with five points, not four, because I agree with Grumperina that four is just not a good number. I don’t know why odd numbers of points look better to me. Anyway, I will be re-winding this yarn into balls as well, not only to check for knots, but because the scarf is knit in two parts, from the middle out. Two of the balls I have are from one dye lot, and the third is from another. I’ll start the middle of the scarf in the middle of that third ball of yarn, and no one will ever know!

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This afternoon I finished the hand section of the second Fleep-Top glove. Still to do: four fingers and a thumb, two mittens and two thumb-caps, and weaving in almost thirty ends. I am thrilled with the way the gloves are coming out, and so excited that they’ll be done in time for Winterlude!

Yesterday, Pirate-Husband and I attended an SCA event about an hour from our house. We had a good time, but for me the highlight was purchasing a half-ounce drop spindle in ebony and rosewood from The Spanish Peacock. I’ve been admiring friend Janis‘s laceweight spindle-spinning, and when I saw this mini-spindle, I just couldn’t resist! I’ll be testing it out with a half-ounce merino sampler from Sheepish Creations.

I brought the Quick Toe-Up Socks with me to the event and knit the second one until it was very close to the heel turn. They were very blatantly not medieval, unfortunately, but I wasn’t about to start another project just for a one-day event. I’ve sometimes been tempted by the Eleanor of Toledo socks, but those are more than I really want to knit… and I doubt I’d be able to work on them and hold a conversation at the same time! No one complained; actually I got compliments on the evenness of my gauge and on the striping of the yarn, as well as on the non-medieval Kureyon Booga Bag which I was carrying.

This Friday will be my 31st birthday! I’ve already made plans for my birthday money; most of it will be going to build a new desktop computer for myself. My old one died, and now I don’t have a good machine to do graphics work on. As I’m a graphic/web designer in real life, this is kinda important! I’m also going to buy a pro account on Flickr, and probably a bit of spinning fiber as well. I love birthdays and think they should be celebrated with as much awesomeness as possible. How convenient that mine will kick off a three-day weekend!

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I had a thought about the socks I’m working on, that perhaps I could stave off Second Sock Syndrome if I started the second sock before completing the first, and working on them alternately until they’re both done. Another reason for doing it this way is because I had to cut out a big chunk of mis-striped yarn from the first ball; I may have to do that again in the second ball, and if I work on both socks at the same time, I can better make them identical.

So tonight I cast on for the second Quick Toe-Up Sock, and was pleased on several counts: one, that I successfully knit a figure-eight toe on the first try; two, that the tail of said toe is within two inches of the length of the first sock’s tail; three, that the socks appear to be matched up perfectly so far. Having accomplished that, I’m about to move on…

…to a new pair of flip-top glove/mittens. The pattern is called Gnomittens and is only available on Ravelry. I am calling them “fleep-tops” because it amuses me. Anyway, I’ve been wanting a pair of fleep-tops for a few years, and now that I’ve knit a pair of gloves that fit someone else, I have the confidence to knit a pair for myself.

Jo Sharp Silkroad DK TweedI have two reasons for wanting fleep-tops: one, because my new phone‘s touchscreen won’t register a thing through gloves; and two, because in five weeks I’ll be attending an outdoor stew cook-off, part of the Winterlude festival in Ottawa. It’s crazy, going to Canada in February, but it’s become a tradition for me to visit KnittingNinja for Bal du Neige. Last year I had a hard time eating my stew with bulky snow gloves on, and I said that I’d knit myself some fleep-tops before next year… which is now only a month away. Time to get started, eh?

I am using Jo Sharp Silkroad DK Tweed in colorway 409, which is a discontinued color, very dark gray with flecks of gray and burgundy. Originally this was Pirate-Husband’s yarn, with which he was going to knit himself a hat, but it would be perfect for fleep-tops and so I asked if I could have it from him. He had no problem with that. I can always replace it if he decides to try knitting again.

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I finished re-knitting the heel on my not-so-quick socks this evening, then put it in my purse for tomorrow’s road trip to New York. We’ll be visiting Pirate-Husband’s family for the weekend. I’m pleased with the way it came out; it’s much more even this time.

Now it’s back to Mom’s glove. I’m cranking through the thumb gusset tonight. My schedule has me finishing the hand by Sunday evening and all the fingers by Wednesday evening. I know I can do this if I don’t let myself get distracted!

One distraction today was the fog which rolled up after the afternoon’s rain. I am continually amazed at the beauty which surrounds us up here, and so grateful to live on top of a mountain! It’s hard to believe that we’ve had the house for almost a year already. Yesterday was Pirate-Husband’s birthday. Coincidentally, yesterday we bought a Mazda Miata. If he’d like to think of it as his birthday present, I’m not going to stop him!

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