Archive for the “meta-knitting” Category

New socks, new socks! I really had hoped to have these done in time for Pride Month, but hey - there'll be another one next year. Yarn is West Yorkshire Spinners Signature 4 ply in the "Rum Raisin" colourway, which I bought in Lake Tahoe in 2019. Pattern is... just a plain ol' 64 stitch sock. I kind of wish I'd thought of knitting these toe-up so that the toes would have started (or ended) at the beginning of the rainbow, but it's not that big a deal :) I did break the yarn after turning the heel, skipping ahead to the next red stripe so that the rainbow wouldn't be interrupted over the ankle, and that was a good decision - even if it did mean having a few more ends to weave in.

A pair of rainbow-striped socks. The colours are more like jewel tones than actual primary rainbow shades, but the effect is still that of a rainbow.

The same day that I finished these, I immediately started on the next pair, this time using Cascade Heritage Paints. The colourway I'm using is called "Thunder," which seems sort of appropriate to go next to a pair of rainbows. This past weekend I turned the first heel and am working my way down the foot. It'll be another plain stockinette pair (it's good knit-night work!) but with a navy contrast yarn in the cuffs/toes/heels. Also, I'm putting a Sweet Tomato Heel on these socks in hopes of not disturbing the spiral pooling of the yarn. I really like how it looks in the contrasting colour.

A partially knit sock. The cuff and heel is dark navy blue, and the leg of the sock is a spiral of grays and blues. The foot isn't yet knit.

Maybe there's something about the whiff of fall in the air that's gotten me re-invigorated to work on my knitting projects. This morning when I sat down at my desk I saw the yarn for the second of my Aviation socks (the third in the Twisted Trilogy that I've been procrastinating on for a while) - and instead of just nodding at it, like, "yeah, I see you," I picked it up and knit for a while. Once this sock is done I'll write up all three patterns in a nice way and then get them published, finally! I'm trying not to give myself a hard time for not finishing this project sooner, because what good would that do now? Instead I'm going to try to remember how much I actually do enjoy knitting this pattern, even if I'm a little intimidated by the thought of writing up patterns for publication :)

The very beginning of a purpley-pink sock. The ribbed cuff transitions into a twisted stitch pattern that makes an interesting texture of columns.

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Mom and I had planned to go to Maryland Sheep and Wool last weekend, but the sheer volume of rainfall was going to turn it into Muddyland Sheep and Wool instead - so we stayed home. It was a disappointment to miss the festival, but I think we made the right choice.

Remember last April when I knit the Puppies wrap and I accidentally knit the first panel twice? Well, I asked Mom to bring over her ball winder so that we could reclaim the yarn. It took a long time to get both ends free, but after that it was smooth winding, and we only lost a yard or so of each colour... and now I have two more ounces each of gray-purple and white laceweight yarns - over 600 yards each. And I already had remnants of each colour on cones!

Some of this yarn is going be used in the swatch for a sweater; I had the thought that plating the laceweight merino wool behind the fingering weight alpaca would help keep the final garment from sagging too much, but of course that needs to be tested before I go ahead and order another full cone of yarn (or two). Perhaps for the rest of it, I'll follow one of the Knitology 1x1 videos and do something fancy with the ribber plating feeder.

Yarn is ColourMart Extra Fine Merino 2/30NM Lace weight, penny for scale to show just how fine it is:

Two hand-wound balls of laceweight yarn in white and purple-gray. One strand of yarn is over a penny to give a sense of scale. The yarn is very fine.

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A long time ago I had the idea to design a trilogy of socks with twisted stitches, and to name them for cocktails. I knit the Boulevardier Socks in 2018, the Sapphire Martini socks in - well, I started them in 2018, knit an entire sock very much too small, got frustrated, started over again while I was unemployed in early 2020, and finished the pair in 2021.

I cast on for the Aviation Socks right after... but here we are, a year after that, and I'm just finishing up the first sock.

It's not that they're hard to knit - they're not! I don't know what the problem is. I really like how they look, and obviously this one fits me (that's my foot in the picture!) so that's not my concern. Am I procrastinating on the knitting because I'm planning to publish the patterns and I'm nervous about how they'll be received? Maybe so. How silly of me.

A nearly complete purple sock with a fancy twisted rib design is modeled on a foot, with toes peeking out of the unfinished end.

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Happy happy new year!

As usual, this tally is more for myself than anything else, but you may find it interesting as well. If you're coming from FB/Twitter/other social media, click through to see the full post:

INCOMING YARN: 10,661 yards
4 skeins of Berroco Ultra Alpaca Light (576)
4 skeins of Cascade Heritage Sock (1748)
2 more skeins of Heritage Sock, grr miscalculations (874)
1 skein of Cascade Heritage Wave (437)
12 balls of Cloudborn Alpaca Fingering, for a machine-knit colourwork something (2412)
3 skeins of Berocco Ultra, for new Fleeps (645)
7 balls Patons Classic Wool Worsted, for a sweater (1485)
8 balls Universal DK Tweed Superwash (2272)

OUTGOING YARN: 16,284 yards
I gave the second skein of handspun yak/silk to my mom :) (138)
Plain Pink Knit Night Socks used up a ball of Austermann Step that had been languishing in my stash for years. (460)
The Puppies wrap. :D (8417)
Sapphire Martini Socks, the second in the Twisted Sock trilogy! (436)
I gave some Universal Sock Yarn "Ditto" to Lisa so she could try knitting socks (440)
The machine-knit Sanquhar Scarf used ~5 skeins of Heritage Sock (2185)
Seattle Slouch for MadameBadger (437)
Learning Sweater - my very first sweater! (1378)
Sold a skein of Tosh Merino Light (440)
Frustrated with colourwork, I knit a pair of Plain Blue Socks (460)
My own Buoy Blend Handspun got knit up into a shawl (320)
The first "Watch Me!" armwarmers took up 1.05 skeins of Kroy, so I knit a second pair with the rest and some scraps. (350)
Another pan protector... (153)
Fleeps the Third, to keep my hands warm (220)
Piratical Socks (350 red, 75 blue, 25 white = 450 ish)

INCOMING FIBRE: 0 ounces
Nope. None.

OUTGOING FIBRE: ~36 ounces, give or take - 2548 yards
8 ounces of Mohair/Finn blend, spun into a chain-plied gradient (472 yards)
4 ounces Into the Whirled Corriedale, spun into a chain-plied stripy yarn (242 yards)
8 ounces Southdown, spun into two-ply yarn (652 yards)
8 ounces Suffolk, spun into two-ply yarn (706 yards)
Some Fleece - 222g/476 yards of it, to be exact.

PLANS FOR NEXT YEAR:
Oh, man. I have so many plans. SO MANY PLANS. Trying new techniques on the machine, lined Fleeps, knitting a sweater (or two?), finally finishing and publishing the Twisted Sock Trilogy... It's gonna be a good year for creating things!

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These socks have been an absolute journey. My first attempt was too small, and I didn't realize it until after I'd knit down past the heel. My second attempt, after recharting the skull and crossbones section to have eight more stitches in it, was upside down - and I still wasn't happy with my fine gauge colourwork on DPNs. (Uneven. Puckery. Not nice.)

I gave up, put the chart into Designaknit, sent it to the knitting machine, and cranked out the cuffs in no time at all. The rest of the socks I knit by hand, because miles of stockinette is perfect for knit nights, car rides, and hanging out with Mom.

The pattern is Buccaneer's Booty and the red and blue yarns are both Lang Jawoll, a gift from my friend Ky. I love the subtle shading in them. Thanks, Ky!

A pair of red socks with blue toes and heels, and a band of skulls and crossbones at the cuff.

I subbed in Cat Bordhi's Sweet Tomato Heel for the short-row heel in the original pattern. I like how it fits and I adore the look of the dark blue wedges on the red sock. I also added an extra bit of striping at the toe to more closely match the stripe at the cuff.

The heel is made up of three wedges of blue on the red background of the sock.

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I've been going out for runs before work, because it's been too hot in the afternoons. The other day I was all dressed and ready to go and... it was only 47 degrees out, so that was a nope. I'm going to need to come up with ways of keeping warm if I want to keep going out in the mornings! Since my hands get cold easily, I thought I'd begin with a pair of armwarmers. The idea of the Watch Me! armwarmers comes from wanting to be able to see and control my sportswatch without having to mess around with sleeves and other layers while I'm trying to run in a straight line.

Look, it's got a little window for my watch! ...which took several tries to size appropriately, but eventually I figured out what I was doing. The part of the armwarmer that goes over the watch band is seed stitch, and then it goes back to ribbing for the rest of it.

The back side of the Watch Me armwarmers shows a sports watch poking through a little 'window' over the wrist.

Getting the thumb gusset right was another challenge. I needed to adjust several times; I tried different types and rates of increases and liked none of them. Finally, I decided to just let it grow out of one of the ribs, and that worked well.

The next challenge was figuring out how many stitches to set aside for the thumb, and how many to dedicate to the hand - most of the glove/armwarmer patterns that I have in my library have the same number of stitches on the wrist as on the hand, but my wrist is only 6" around and my hand is about 7.5" around, so I needed to come up with some more stitches to keep my hand from getting squashed. I cast on a few extra after I set the thumb stitches aside, but I think if I make another pair of these I'll add even more. (Or knit the hand portion in stockinette, rather than in rib - that would probably work, too.)

The palm side of the left-hand Watch Me armwarmer

And then, of course, the inevitable challenge of picking up stitches for the thumb in order to leave the smallest holes possible between thumb and hand! I used the tail to sew up the little gaps that remained.

The thumb of the Watch Me armwarmers connects to the rest of the hand without any holes at all!

I took very careful notes as I knit so that I'll be able to duplicate my work. The right-hand armwarmer won't have the opening for a watch, of course, so I'll probably continue the ribbing instead of putting the seed stitch band in. But the notes will be very helpful when it comes to the thumb gusset!

The Watch Me! armwarmers are knit in Patons Kroy Sock FX, which is a heavier-than-standard sock yarn, on size 2 needles. The colourway is "Cascade Colors" and I absolutely love the teals and grays. I could easily see knitting a whole sweater out of this, actually, though I might try a swatch on size 3 needles to see if I can get a slightly more drapey fabric without it being too loose.

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After my first attempt at the Pirate Socks came out too small, I recharted the skull & crossbones section to 72 stitches, made a plan to increase and decrease around the colourwork, and began again.

In the few hours between the end of work and our first in-person knit night since last March, I hurried to get the colourwork section done so that I could just knit the plain stockinette leg of the sock while chatting and sipping scotch.

There's just one problem...

The cuff of a sock with a skull and crossbones motif.

I knit them upside-down.

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The second pair of socks in the Twisted Trilogy is (finally) done!

This one is knit over 72 stitches, because that's how the pattern and my gauge worked out. I'd like to try to figure out how to fit it into 64, so I can offer the pattern in two sizes, but I'm not seeing a way to do that neatly. Ah well.

Two bright blue socks stretched over blockers on a wood background. The socks have a twisted stitch ribbing pattern running all the way up the foot and leg.

Originally I'd planned the third pair to be bright green, but I think I'm going with purple instead. I've got the stitch pattern all charted out and it's ready to get started, though I should probably finish some other projects first.

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I had so much fun swatching the Unicorn Spit that I decided to wash and swatch one of the skeins of Fleece.

Well, really, it was mostly curiosity. The Unicorn Spit was so twisty and knitting up at a gauge much fatter than its WPI would have led me to guess, that I needed to know if the Fleece would do the same. So I gave a skein a bath, let it soak for half an hour, rolled it in a towel, snapped it open a few times, rolled it in another towel and thwapped it on the floor, and then hung it to dry.

It is SO BOUNCY. And again, despite the WPI, it's knitting up quite nicely on size 8/5mm needles.
(I'd originally swatched this last year on size 6/4mm needles at nearly 5 stitches to the inch, and now I'm thinking that was way too dense.) Apparently if I want yarn that's actually sport to DK-weight, I'm going to have to spin much, much finer.

I'm going to try a few more textured stitches before I wash and block this, but here's the swatch in progress:

A swatch of brown knitting with plain stockinette at the bottom and cables plus ribbing at the top.

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Remember the Unicorn Spit?

Six completed skeins of yarn with a bundle of unspun fibre perched on top.

I wound up one skein of it for swatching, because the Pirate Socks are still in time-out and I didn't want to disturb them. Here's where things get weird: I'm getting 10-11 wraps per inch on this yarn, so it should be a heavy DK or light worsted weight yarn. But it was a little tight to knit on size 8/5mm needles, and much more pleasant on size 9/5.5mm needles, where I'm getting four stitches to the inch, making it... heavy worsted? Aran? What even.

An in-progress knitting swatch. There is a ruler on top of the swatch with the yarn wrapped around it, showing ten wraps per inch.

The other problem is that it is TWISTY. I'm sure that I washed these skeins before I put them away, so I know the twist is supposedly set, but whooooo it's impossible to knit with as is. I had to stop every yard or so to let the work dangle and untwist the next bit of yarn. This isn't workable for a whole piece, so I'll probably end up running it through the wheel 'backwards' to untwist it a bit, and then re-soak it, and see if that helps.

"But I wanted a firm and durable and round yarn!" says past-me, the spinner who apparently overplied the heck out of this stuff. Ah well. It's still fixable.

The swatch isn't showing any bias because of all the untwisting, so at least I know that it can knit up nicely... at four stitches to the inch:

A knitted swatch of heathery green yarn with garter stitch up the sides and ribbing at the top. Eyelets in each section indicate the needle sizes that were tested: size 8 and 9.

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