Archive for the “jaywalker” Category

Ten years ago on a motorcycle ride through the countryside with my ex, we stopped at a little yarn shop called Needles in the Haymarket, and I bought a ball of pink and gray Austermann Step yarn. I didn't know, then, that less than a year after that ride I would be moving to Haymarket, and that shop would become my LYS for years!

Four years ago I cast on for another pair of Jaywalkers. I liked the yarn well enough, but for some reason I never felt the urge to knit on the socks. I'd take the project out from time to time and put a few rounds onto it, but didn't fall in love with it. When I was traveling last fall, I thought of bringing it - but no, I started something else instead.

At the end of the weekend I said to myself, "Self, it's time to finish that sock. Or something." So I tried it on to see how much more I'd need to knit before the toe and... it didn't fit. My feet have grown. I've put on some muscle in my legs since I started biking and running. And this sock is never going to fit.

Farewell, Pink Jaywalker. It was nice almost knowing you.

Hello, Austermann Step in pinks and grays. What kind of sock do you think you'd like to be?

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I've been carrying the Timey Wimey Jaywalkers around with me for months, putting on a stripe here and there, not really paying attention to how long the foot was getting. So it shouldn't come as a surprise to anyone that when I measured the sock, I'd gone several rounds past where I should have started the toe! Grumbling, I un-knitted three rounds, got all the stitches re-aligned properly, and then put the sock on a corner of my desk while I worked on other things and went to Canada on vacation. (Yes, Canada. Yes, in February. Yes, I'm crazy. I'll tell you all about the Canadian trip in the next entry.)

The sock stared at me every time I sat down.

When I couldn't take it any more, I told myself that even though I had lots of deadlined projects for babies to work on, I could take an hour to finish the stupid sock and cross the project off my list. So I did! The two socks are almost, but not exactly matched. The first one has a little tip of white at the toe; the second doesn't. This may have been due to dyeing discrepancies, but more likely it was changes in my tension as I worked.

This was my first time using KnitPicks Felici yarn. I thought it was good in some ways and less good in others. For the good, it is quite soft and smells deliciously of wool and dye. For the bad, it's slightly thinner than regular sock yarn. Also, the two balls I had started in wildly different places in the striping sequence, so I lost a significant amount of yarn in making the socks match up. (Yes, I like my striped socks to match. Yes, I'm willing to sacrifice sock height to get matching socks. Yes, I'm crazy.)

These are the third pair of Jaywalkers I've made. I guess that makes it my favourite sock pattern? It really is a great pattern: the socks fit snugly, striping yarn is shown off even better than usual, and the chevron pattern is interesting but not at all difficult to remember, so they make good traveling socks. I'm sure I'll knit another pair of them eventually.

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Aubrey M. Tinyfierce lost her fight with FIP yesterday. In the end, her fierce was just too tiny for a disease which is inevitably fatal. To say that we'll miss her terribly is an understatement. At least for now, her picture will stay in the banner of my Etsy shop, which should be opening for business in the next couple of months. If I can't do it to support her any more, I can still do it in her memory - and to build up a fund for Floyd T. Underfoot, should he happen to get sick. Right now we're grateful that he's healthy as a horse, sleek and energetic.

Friend Stef came over yesterday to keep me company and help distract me from thinking about Aubrey too much. I showed her the Winterlude Hat (tm) which I'd blocked over a perfectly-sized ceramic bowl1, and she fell in love with its awesomeness. Then, because she has more sewing experience than I do, she helped me pin the fleece lining for the hat. It went much more smoothly for having an extra pair of hands involved. We had a good time chatting about craftsy things while I began sewing it up. I'm so close to being done with it and I can't wait to try it out when I get to Canada in a week and a half.

While I've got the sewing box out, I need to sew the magnet-snaps into Michael's Fleeps. And on the subject of projects which are really, really close to completion, I'm within a few stripes of the toe on the second Wibbly Wobbly, Timey Wimey Jaywalker. I've been working on it here and there while I wait for things like car maintenance and allergy shots. The other day I pulled it out to knit a few stripes and was actually surprised to discover that it's almost finished!

I didn't get much done on the blanket this past weekend, but I plan to work a couple of hexagons in tonight. And soon, if I'm feeling tired of crochet and want to get back to knitting, I can start on the pink and purple sweaters for the twin niecelets.

1. Which shall be my hat-blocking bowl forevermore, when it's not serving its usual role as a fruit dish.

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Yesterday I was so tired when I got home that Pirate-Husband suggested that I should take a night off from knitting. "You've told me," he said, "that when you're tired you shouldn't knit."

"No," I mumbled through a fog, "I can knit on something stockinette. I could, really. I could." But I didn't. He made dinner and we watched television with the cats draped across our laps, and then we both went to bed early. Not a productive evening, but a very comfortable one.

I've made progress on Michael's Fleeps, but it will take a minor miracle to have them finished before I see him on Friday. There's a lot to do tonight that isn't knitting, like packing for Thanksgiving in New York, but maybe I can find a few moments. And I'm sure that Grandma won't mind if I knit while we talk about everything under the sun. So, maybe! Fingers crossed.

Both of my socks-in-progress will be coming with me on the trip, too. Pirate-Husband pointed out, "We'll be taking your car, there's plenty of room for knitting," and also commented "I know you love to start new projects, but I think you should finish the current socks first." He is, of course, right on all three counts.

As for new projects, there is a LOT of baby knitting coming up. We will know the twins' sexes tomorrow, so I'll finally be able to buy the yarn for their sweaters. I am going to bring the KnitPicks catalog to New York with me, so that my sister-in-law can pick out exactly which colours she prefers. And my friend Gwen has just announced that she's expecting her third, due in the end of May! I'm not yet sure what I'll knit for her. Another sweater? A little toy? I'll come up with something good.

Due Date …… Project
10/3 ………… Angie’s gifts
11/1 ………… Second Fleep, hand section
12/1 ………… Mom’s sock #2
12/1 ............ Dad's hat
1/1 ....………. Gift for Janis's baby boy
2/1 ………….. Mitten tops and thumb caps on Fleeps (almost done!)
2/1 ………….. Jacob Hat
3/1 ………….. Twins’ sweaters
4/15 ….……. Gift for Gwen's baby

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In six years of knitting, you'd think that I would have learned one very important lesson: that I should never knit anything more complicated than stockinette in the round when I am exhausted. And readers, yesterday I was very, very tired. A combination of things had conspired to keep me from sleeping on Wednesday night, beginning with kittens hopping on my ribs at 02:00 and ending with the fact that, for some reason, it was approximately seven million degrees (Fahrenheit, though I think at that temperature it doesn't matter much) in our bedroom. As a result I spent much of Thursday shuffling about in a zombie-like daze, but I couldn't resist the siren call of the yarn in the evening when I sat down at my desk.

Because I was ahead of schedule, I rationalized, I could work for an hour on one of my own projects and still manage to get everyone's gifts done in time. I reached for the second of the Timey-Wimey Jaywalkers, figured out where I'd left off (in the middle of the gusset decreases) and knit an entire stripe before I realized... I'd been forgetting the slipped stitches that edge the stockinette sole. I had no recollection of these stitches at all. I examined the first sock - yep, there were slipped stitches there. I examined the parts of the gusset that I'd knit back in July - slipped stitches there, too. Rats!

Someone recently asked on the Ravelry forums if she was alone in making mistakes, if other people knit everything perfectly the first time around. I'm pretty sure everyone who read that had a good laugh, because there is no such thing as perfect knitting all the time. Even super-prolific knitters like the Yarn Harlot and Wendy Johnson make mistakes, and they blog about them, and we all have a good laugh and a "yeah, me too."

The greatest thing about knitting is that it's so forgiving. 99% of the time it's possible to just pull the needles out, rip the yarn free from mistaken stitches, and do it over again. No harm, no foul. So I'll be ripping out everything I did last night and doing it over again, including the slipped stitches this time. It's just the way things go sometimes.

(Actually, no. The real greatest thing about knitting is that I have perfectly fit, delightfully customized wool socks, scarves, hats and gloves that I could never buy in any store.)

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Last night I was knitting on the Wibbly-Wobbly Jaywalker when I noticed my stitch count was off; I'd forgotten to make an increase two rounds back. Rather than unknit the three rounds to fix it, I took a deep breath, took up my crochet hook, and dropped down to the wrongness. It took a few moments for me to visualize the right way to pick up two stitches into one, but with some concentration I was able to figure it out. Hooray for intrepid knitting!

After a few more rounds of Jaywalking I decided to begin the second Stripey Striped Sock. It's been a good six months, if not more, since I finished the first one; it's probably time for me to grit my teeth, knit the second sock, and get it off my WIPs list. I don't like the yarn at all, but I love how the colours play out, and I seem to remember that the first sock fit me perfectly. I'll be very, very glad when it's done, and I think the two matching/mismatched striped socks will look great together.

I've mastered the Figure-Eight toe, I think, since this is the fourth time in a row that I've gotten a good toe on the first try, without dropping a stitch or mis-counting. I knit the first two stripes last night, and the next two stripes will see the end of the toe and beginning of the foot, at which point the Second Stripey Sock will become my traveling companion. Whatever else I may think about the Kureyon Sock yarn, it travels much, much better than the softer Felici does!

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This may look like the first of the Timey-Wimey Jaywalkers, but it's actually the second. Yes, I knit the second sock before the first. Time can be wibbly that way. I'm exceedingly pleased that I'll have just enough yarn to make the first sock match the second exactly; for a while I thought it wasn't going to happen! It will come out with just a few yards to spare. I've cast on for the first sock right after I finished the second, and measured the tails together. They're within two inches of each other, so I should have some very closely matching socks indeed.

Right now I'm not wearing socks at all; I'm wearing a pair of Vibram FiveFingers KSOs. They're super-comfy shoes that are about as close as it gets to being barefoot. I love wearing them in the yard and climbing around on the boulders, and also out in public. Some people might think they're horrifically ugly, but I've gotten more compliments on them than complaints. So even if I can't wear handknit socks with them, they're still pretty cool. I'd need to knit some really fine-gauge toesocks to wear under these, which is probably not going to happen.

And now, I'm off to work the ribbing of the second - no, the first - Wibbly-Wobbly, Timey-Wimey Jaywalker.

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I have a good excuse for not finishing the first of the Timey-Wimey socks this weekend. Actually, I have two good excuses and one sorry one! The sorry excuse is that I have been taking Celebrex for my ankle injury, and I feel like a zombie. If I sit down, I have a tendency to fall asleep. I did knit for a while and I've started the toe decreases. I think that I might have measured properly so that I'll be able to have matching socks. It'll be within a few yards, but I think it's possible. Fingers crossed!

This is my first good excuse: in my efforts to stay awake, I went down into the garage with Pirate-Husband and worked on the next set of our wine bottle lanterns. We got the idea from Gerardot & Co. via Make.

We'd made one of these lanterns last fall, and had some ideas to improve on them for the next set. Our house is right in the middle of Virginia wine country, so we're going to collect a variety of our favourites from local wineries. To keep the labels from peeling off, we've given the bottles a coating of clear polyurethane from a spray can. I drove some sturdy sticks into the ground, then slid the bottles onto them so that the bottoms could be sprayed as well. They'll get a second coat some time this week. The humidity caused the spray to give a hazy finish, which I actually like better than if they'd come out clear.

The original instructions suggest using a cap to keep the wick dry when it's not in use. Our first lantern lost its cap in less than a week, and has acquired a few inches of water underneath the oil in the lantern. To keep the cap from getting lost again, I got out "ye old chainmail kit" and made a chain of ten links. An eleventh link was soldered to the top of the cap, then hooked up to the rest. At the other end, the last link was put around the split ring hanger. The cap may still fall off, but at least now it won't be lost! I discovered that I really enjoy soldering when I took a stained glass class, and this was a fun opportunity for me to play with molten metal again. Pirate-Husband deserves thanks for letting me do much of the soldering work, because I know he likes it too.

Unfortunately, the shiny copper-plated hardware didn't weather as well as I would have liked. Real copper turns a beautiful green in the outdoors, but this stuff just sort of looked dirty. Rather than spray it with the polyurethane so that it stays shiny, we hit them with a flat black spray paint. Pirate-Husband is going to teach me dry-brushing techniques to make them look properly weathered, and then the clear polyurethane will seal in that look.

what the deuce And this is my second good excuse: Sunday evening, just as I was settling in to finish the sock toe, we heard a rumbling from outside. Pirate-Husband's former co-worker had somehow gotten his deuce and a half up into our driveway, and asked us if we wanted to go for a ride. There was really no thinking about it; I dropped the yarn and off we went on the loudest adventure ever! Even though I was wearing ear protection, I still feel slightly deafened. We drove to where the paved roads end and kept going, forded a small creek, saw a small spotted fawn, and had a wonderful time. I hope you don't hold it against me that as a result I have no knitting to show today - and if you get the chance for an adventure like that, I hope you'll also drop your yarn and run to meet it!

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Two more stripes went onto the Timey-Wimey Jaywalkers last night, and I decided that it was time to try them on.


Felici is slightly finer than what I think of as 'standard' sock yarn (Opal, Regia, Lang, etc.) and so the sock barely made it over my heel. It fit just fine once I'd tugged and pulled and cajoled it on. What a relief! A good blocking when the socks are done will help with that tightness, so I'm not worried about it at all.

I am a little worried about running out of yarn on the second sock. Because the two skeins that KnitPicks sent started on different colours, I'm going to have to cut out three stripes from the beginning of the second skein in order to have matching socks. I've cut it really, really close, and my fingers are crossed that my measurements are on the short side instead of the long side. KnitPicks has totally sold out of the Time Traveler colourway, so if I run out I will either have to beg for a length of the proper stripes or have a mismatched sock toe.

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Knitting Vintage Socks has been on my wishlist for quite some time now, and I finally gave in and bought it for myself. While there are several patterns in the book that I could see myself knitting, it was really the Evening Stockings for a Young Lady (Ravelry link) that finally did it for me. These stockings are beautiful; every time I see another pair completed, I want to knit them for myself. For those of you without a Ravelry account, here's a link to a picture of the socks on Flickr. And here's another, showing the delightful calf shaping. I love how the ribbing goes down into the heel flap, and the 'seam stitch' formed by purling down the center.

Disappointingly, many of the patterns seem to be one-size-fits-anyone-but-Pirate, so I expect that I'll have to make some adjustments to get a proper fit. Extending the length of a sock foot is easy enough, but what does she mean by "fits a size 7 foot"? Is she referring to length or width there? Swatching will almost certainly be a necessity for most, if not all, of the stitch patterns. I'm not a fan of the "just go up a needle size" theory of enlarging socks, but I can figure out where stitches can be added to or subtracted from a pattern to make it slightly larger or smaller, and I'm not afraid of tinkering with a pattern to get it to fit well, whether the adjustments need to be in length or width. Hooray for intrepid knitting!

There are other patterns in the book that I'd like to knit as well, but I think the Evening Stockings will come first. (After I've worked through some of the patterns that I've already queued up, I mean.) I've been really into the idea of kneesocks lately, even though I know they will take forever to knit, and there are several patterns in this book that fit the bill.

The book includes a variety of heels and toes, with detailed instructions on how to make them. This will definitely come in handy when I'm designing more of my own sock patterns! I think the only other sock book that is missing from my shelf (for now) is Cookie A.'s Sock Innovation. I'm not as into the patterns in Cookie's book, but its real value is in the wealth of information about designing socks.

In actual knitting news, the Timey-Wimey sock is coming along. Although the Felici yarn doesn't travel well at all, I've brought it with me today to keep me occupied during the farewell lunch that we're having for a co-worker. We're a fairly large group, and whenever we go out to lunch together it seems to take forever to get everyone drinks, take orders, and bring out the food. My co-workers might look at me funny for knitting while we wait, but I'm glad to have something to do with my hands that doesn't involve eating large quantities of breadsticks!

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